How To Grow & Scale a Multi-Million Dollar Event Business – Sam Eitzen / Snapbar
I’ve been kicking around the idea of starting my own podcast for a while and am super excited to finally launch with this as the very first episode!
It’s a deep dive packed with valuable insights but before we jump in, I have an important favor to ask (which I don’t do often):
1) Please subscribe to the show
2) And please leave a review on iTunes
I’m committing to doing 5 episodes of this podcast. I will read every single review and based on that feedback, I’ll either stop or continue doing the podcast.
EPISODE 1 – Sam Eitzen, CEO & Co-Founder of Snapbar.
Sam was recently named one of the “Most Innovative People in Events” by BizBash and was also featured in the NY Times.
He grew Snapbar’s revenue by over 1,000% in 3 years and earned a spot in the Inc. 500 (which is uncommon for a photo booth company).
Snapbar was on track to do $5 million in revenue in 2020, but practically lost it all overnight when COVID-19 hit. Sam led a pivot into gift boxes and virtual booths and somehow managed to rebuild $2 million in revenue from scratch.
How did he do it? Tune in to find out.
Check out Sam’s new course! – How To Grow & Scale a Multi-Million Dollar Event Business
Show notes of all resources mentioned in the episode are below the podcast player.
What’d you think of this conversation? Leave a comment below!
- Sam’s course – How To Grow & Scale a Multi-Million Dollar Event Business
- Eisenhower Matrix for productivity
- 2019 CES Google Ride event – video, article
- Paul Graham’s “Do Things That Don’t Scale” essay
- Airbnb Founder interview with Reid Hoffman about creating an incredible experience
- Kevin Kelly’s article on 1,000 True Fans
- Book – E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber
- NY Times Article
- James Altucher – “How to become an idea machine“
- Sam’s LinkedIn articles
- Book – Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller by Ron Chernow
- TPontherun – Instagram Profile
This transcript was automatically generated using Descript.
Ismail: [00:00:00] welcome to the very first episode of the Bound To be rich podcast. I’m your host is Ismail Humet. For those of you who don’t know me, I am an entrepreneur and investor. I’ve had success at a wide range of things from building software companies to eCommerce digital content in person conferences, flipping real estate and consulting.
Yes, I’ve actually done them all as you’ll soon, find out I love learning and experimenting with new things. Uh, prior to that, I was in the corporate world working into finance and on the fast track to having a thriving career. But what I’m really passionate about is helping others grow and achieve their goals.
So with this podcast, I will be diving into successful entrepreneurs and people in general, uh, to understand how they built their success and what we can learn from them. What did they do? How did they do it, or were they just born different and just bound to be rich? This podcast is an experiment and I’ve committed to doing five episodes.
I will read every review and based on the feedback, I’ll either stop or keep going. So if you like the show, [00:01:00] uh, please subscribe and leave a review. My very first guest is Sam eon, CEO and co-founder of snap bar, a photo booth company in the in 500 with some of the world’s biggest clients, such as Google, Microsoft, Amazon Airbnb, a ton of other ALIST brands.
Uh, Sam has an incredible story and we dive deep into it with his conversation. He started snap bar by accident with no investment and was on track to do 5 million in revenue at the beginning of 2020. He grew 1000% over three years and earned a spot in the ink 500, which is not common for a photo booth company.
Uh, he was recently named one of the most innovative people in events by BizBash magazine and has been featured in the New York times, Forbes and tech crunch, then the C pandemic and he practically lost it all overnight. As the events around the world were shut down. Uh, so he built a gift box company pivoted into virtual booths and rebuilt $2 million in revenue from [00:02:00] scratch.
How did he do it? Let’s dive in
Sam. Welcome to the show. Thank you for being here. Thanks this mill. Happy to be here. I have to admit while I was preparing for this interview, I was getting really, really excited. There’s a bunch of points that I wanna get to. Hopefully we have time to cover all of them, but I think let’s just jump right into it for people who don’t know.
Origin of Snapbar
Ismail: Would you mind sharing the origin story of snap bar? How did you get started? How did you get into the photo booth event business?
Sam: Yeah, absolutely. So it was an accident. It was a big accident and I’m so thankful that it happened, essentially. My brother. It’s kind of complicated. So my brother graduated with a degree in photography or in visual communications.[00:03:00]
He moved to the us from England, cuz we are half, uh, I guess U us citizens, half British citizens. Um, and he was living with a designer, uh, working as an apprentice in one sense that it’s all design agency in Portland. This designer ended up getting married and because he knew my brother, Joe was a photographer, asked him to set up a photo booth.
Now his interpretation of a photo booth was this idea that I think he might have seen on Pinterest or, or some blog somewhere that essentially encapsulated a camera and towards and an iPad live mirroring images on a computer in a box weird way to think about it. But again, in our business photo booths, I tell people who are unfamiliar with the whole system that a photo booth is basically a fancy box that holds a camera and a bunch of cords.
And that’s what Joe did. He had the equipment, the agreement was that for any other [00:04:00] equipment, he needed Jason. This guy would pay for it, which was great for Joe. And we got to work while he got to work and then looped me in closer to the wedding. I was actually in the wedding. I was a groomsman and you know, to keep a long story short, basically we had everything work out really well at the event.
The groom’s brother. By happenstance was a carpenter. He built this wooden box for us. It was really beautiful. The brother didn’t need it after the event we got given it. And then it landed in my garage doing nothing until the next time some friend who was getting married or having their own party said, Hey, what are you doing?
Like, can you bring it to my event? And that’s kind of how it got started, which is the accidental piece. Right. We just ended up taking it to these random events for friends. And, um, I mean over time, [00:05:00] someone eventually offered to pay us for it, which is the craziest thing. You know,
Ismail: what’ll always kind of strikes me as interesting is that it’s incredibly like, it’s so common that successful businesses or people start off kind of by accident.
Right. Uh, do you take anything out of that story about how it kind of just happened? Right? Is there anything that you take outta that?
Sam: Yeah. I mean, I think opportunities, what I take out of it is that opportunities are just as easily created as they are kind of inherited or thrown into your lap. And it’s more about what you do with it than what the exact opportunity is.
So. It’s kind of humbling in one sense for us to have a successful company that was not really our idea, right? It was first Jason’s then other friends of ours who saw the potential for something that was sitting in our garage to be used at their events. And [00:06:00] eventually, you know, again, by happenstance, by a Facebook page called snap bar, which by the way, was simply a name that we chose at random to be, um, instead of say salmon Joe’s photo booth, uh, you know, to, to then people that were willing to pay for it.
It all happened very organically, very much without us pushing it. And so it’s, I think over time kept us pretty humble and just grateful for how it all ended up, you know, becoming what it is today. And again, the big and kind of awesome reminder is that it is more about what you do with an idea than an idea itself.
This was not something original or genius that my brother and I came up with. It was, uh, something that we had to act on. And that’s what I’m proud of. And that’s what we cut, you know, try to continue to do today is focus on the execution, uh, around these ideas,
Ismail: this, the, that whole concept of embracing the opportunity is something that I will circle back to later.
Uh, cause I find that fascinating, but for [00:07:00] now you’ve got this successful company. However, a lot of people are still in the early stages. So if I can kind of travel back in time with you. To the very beginning where you were,
From side hustle to main focus
Ismail: you were building this accidental photo booth thing on the side while you were working a full time job, right?
Yeah. So can you take me back to that time and how did it transition from a side hustle to your main focus?
Sam: Yeah, it took some time for sure. I think really it was exhaustion. That’s probably the best answer we started. The, the, the snap bar officially got its start as an LLC or partnership, whatever. The first version of our business filing was in December of 12, we went full time in the summer of 2015.
So I don’t know about two and a half years, we were working full time and doing snapper on the side. And exhaustion is kind of what said in over those two and a half years, because as this side hustle grew our ability to have [00:08:00] weekends to ourselves evenings, to ourselves diminished because the events industry, at least back then when we were working a lot of weddings and private events and parties was, uh, evenings and weekends.
So we’d worked during the day, during the week and then in the evenings, usually starting on a Thursday or Friday, and oftentimes again, towards the end of the two and a half years, all through the weekend, multiple events on a Saturday, multiple events on a Sunday, potentially we found ourselves pretty burned out.
So we decided to quit. So. And snap bar was on the table to be quit. Uh, we didn’t know for sure that snap bar was the thing we were gonna pursue. It was a lot of discussion back and forth. And I think ultimately the decision came to the success that this side project had had. And it was good enough to really tease us into thinking, man, what if we had more time to give to it?
What could it become? And that hope was what put us over the edge, I think to say, well, [00:09:00] you know, what’s the worst that could happen. Let’s give it a shot. It’s not like we were really high up in some other careers. I think that was pretty helpful. And maybe that’s something that’s helpful to anyone who’s getting the start, um, in life and in business, you know, if you’re not 10 years into some prestigious company, what’s the downside, right?
I mean, most likely you’ll be able to work again at, at another good company. If your business idea fails, that’s kind of how we were looking at it. In worst case scenario, we go back to work for someone else. We go back doing what we were doing before and, uh, that took away a lot of the fear. I mean, there was still plenty of fear, but it took away enough of it to give us the kinda Gusto to get started and go for it in the summer of 2015 relating to
Ismail: my story.
I feel like, you know, I was talking about leaving the corporate world, leaving my job for a long time, tell my friends and family and. I was like, I’m gonna do it. I’m gonna do it. I’m gonna do it. And then when it finally came time, mm-hmm for me to go in and do it. Uh, there was a lot of angst and resistance and I kind of surprised myself at how difficult the decision it [00:10:00] was for me.
Uh, even though I kind of decided it already, but actually going through with it, uh, it was really very hard and I think, yeah, it’s glamorized and everyone wants to do it, but it’s kind of scary at the same time. So once you made that decision and you and your brother were doing this full time, like you just quit your job those very early days.
What were you guys doing to make sure this thing was success successful? Because people are in that position now and they don’t know, like, uh, I refer to this concept called the curse of knowledge where once you know something and you make it to a certain level, you forget what it was like in the very beginning.
So the people that you know are thinking about quitting or just quit, what did you guys do? What would you advise them?
Sam: Yeah, so we did a lot of the important non-urgent stuff that we’d put off for a really long time. If you’re familiar with that kind of quadrant of thinking, I’m forgetting the specific name, the, the Eisenhower matrix.
Thank you. Yes. The Eisenhower me matrix while [00:11:00] we were so busy working our full-time jobs, you could imagine, I don’t know, website was a low priority. We were too busy doing the actual events on the weekend and the evenings to worry about our brand or our presence on the internet marketing. Fairly happened.
Right. We would do the minimum amount possible to continue booking events. But when you’re not having to book that many events, cuz again, this was a side gig marketing didn’t seem like a huge issue. So when we went full time, we really worked on a lot of those soft skills. It, it, you know, yeah, I guess I would call ’em soft skills as it as to the hard skills, maybe that we’re figuring out how to run a photo booth at an actual event.
So we could have a website or we could have a great, great website. We could have a brand or we could have a really good brand that resonated with people. We could have, you know, just no policies or we could have a dress code that cemented our logo at the center of it to help people remember the name, the snap [00:12:00] bar.
And those again, soft skills is a weird word. I just kind of came up with it for this, but that’s kind of how we were thinking about it. So when we had more time and we were not working events, better website, better SEO. And, and when I say better SEO, I know about SEO right now. I had no idea what SEO was back then.
And so when I, you know, better SEO meant, first of all, learning about it. What in the world is it? How do I take advantage of it? Should I hire someone to. That was usually a no because of the financial financial situation we were in, we didn’t have a ton of money, so we would try to figure it out ourselves.
Same with website design, graphic design,
Ismail: all that Sams with SEO. It takes a long time to really see like a huge impact from the effort you put in. Right? Yes. And what’s unique.
Growing your business
Ismail: What’s unique about you guys, is that when you guys decided to focus on the business, uh, on unlike other people, it had to support two people, two salaries, two families, right.
So what did you do what’d you guys do to get business in that time to make sure you,
Sam: I, yeah. Okay. Great [00:13:00] question. So there was a, a split focus for sure. There was a huge focus on the future stuff, right? A huge focus on the things that were going to impact our business down the road, but you’re absolutely right.
Marketing, SEO, all these things brand to website, they don’t make a difference overnight typically. And so the rest of it was a lot of focus on. The word of mouth and I’m taking as many events and sponsoring as many events as we could. We felt that until we knew more about marketing or SEO or how to present ourselves to the world, we just needed to do more events.
The more events we did, the more people would be exposed to our brand. And at the time, even before we had a website, the way that you would collect your photos was via an album on a Facebook page. And pretty quickly that was replaced with a website. I think a gallery of, you know, of some sort, some third party gallery system online, but they’d go to it to get their photos and they would then be exposed to our brand.
And so the more events we did, the more people would go get their photos. And the [00:14:00] more people that would be exposed to this idea that, oh, look, there’s a local photo booth company in Seattle that I could use from my event. That’s really, that was kind of the immediate stuff because we didn’t have a ton of money to spend on marketing.
So the cheapest thing to do was to use our time to get to events. And of course we would take all the pay ones, paid ones we could, but we sponsored a lot of stuff from galas, you know, and nonprofits to even some corporate stuff, we discounted it really heavily, um, just to get our feet in the door. So is it safe
Ismail: to say, and you know, if you watch feels like shark tank, you always hear these impressive stories about how someone takes, you know, $200 and turns it into, you know, millions of dollars in revenue.
I think you guys did that, right? You didn’t have to start with any capital, uh, from the story that you told earlier. And I think that first check that you got from a stranger’s booking, that’s really all you had to get this thing to where it is now is that.
Sam: Yeah, that’s right. So we’ve never, it was 350 bucks, I think, for the first check.
And I don’t think we’ve ever invested any more of our [00:15:00] money and never really had any investors or loans either. So it was 100%. Well, yeah, I mean, it was bootstrapped from the ground up. The wonderful part of course, is that we had two and a half years to not really worry about making a living on snap, our income because we were working full time.
So that made all the difference. But yeah, that’s
Ismail: quite, that’s an important fact for people to keep in mind, for sure. So it sounds like
Your journey to success.
Ismail: you’re basically hustling and grinding and taking as many events as you can. However, they came in while working on the longer term SEO branding, website development. Uh, so the short term versus the long term, uh, and if we fast forward a little bit, um, what started off as a simple photo with company grew into something much more, right?
So I think you started referring to yourself as a photo experience company. You started getting a bigger clients and I guess a cool story to illustrate that if you don’t mind getting into it. Cause I know mm-hmm, , there’s a lot that goes into, uh, this event. You did a event for Google at C yes. Right. That was totally above what a regular photo booth is.
So [00:16:00] would you mind kind of going to that story a little bit?
Sam: Yeah. So that’s exactly right. The 2019 CES event in January of last year was I think the biggest. Most complicated event, we’ve done also the most UNO booth, like, and it is exactly why we started referring to ourselves or trying to create this other persona other than just a, you know, local photo booth company, which was that we worked in the world of photo experiences or video experiences.
Why that term, I don’t know. It sounded better. I think it resonated a little bit, again, it just, it sounded better. There’s no other reason a lot of people were actually confused by it. So maybe it wasn’t even the best decision, but photo experiences. So we were booked by, uh, Google to build a software system that integrated with essentially a slow version of a roller coaster.
So what Google did at CS in 20, or sorry, in [00:17:00] 2019 was build a massive two story building the bottom floor of which had all kinds of cool, you know, demos and info and kind of experiential elements around the products that they had. And the top floor was this ride called the ride of your life. And if you’re curious about it, you can go to YouTube and type in Google CS, ride of your life and watch a video of this thing.
It was basically a little train ride. Although these were rollercoaster cars that you were sitting in completely customized and would take you on this like six or seven minute journey. Maybe it was less than that. Maybe it was four minutes through something that looked like. I don’t know, it was like a weird fantasy world.
I know that it was based on a movie and I am totally spacing on the name of this movie. So I’m gonna leave it at that. Anyways. It was really cool. These massive animatronic figures, smoke and sound and smells were integrated. And our job [00:18:00] was to install sensors or tap into sensors that were embedded in the rollercoaster track and have those sensors trigger different high quality photo moments throughout the track.
Very similar to how you might have, you know, that rapid speed burst flash thing. When you’re going down a rollercoaster at like Disneyland or not, it’s very farm or something like that. Um, you know, click, click, click, click, and then you go to the end and you see your photo. They recreated that just in a high level branded version and allowed anyone there to use their CES badge and the QR code that was on it to post ride, walk up to a screen that had their photo on it, tap it automatically get an email with their photos wi with that specific person’s photos in it, which is a crazy system in and of itself.
And it included a free coupon for a Google home. They gave, they gave away many of them like tens of thousands at this event. And, um, yeah, we built that. It was a huge project [00:19:00] way beyond the scope of anything we thought we would do. And that was definitely like not. The rule, right? It was the exception, a, a crazy kind of complex and custom event like that.
But it’s really more and more of what we were getting into and really enjoying
Ismail: people who aren’t in the photo booth industry or event industry may not appreciate how complicated it is to put something like that together. Is it true that you have to fly to like a random roller coaster manufacturer somewhere in the country and get familiar?
Like how crazy did it get? Are there any other anecdotes like that?
Sam: I mean, beyond just working an in a truly insane amount of hours over the holidays, because CS happens pretty early in January. Um, yeah, my, our two engineers and my brother actually had to fly to the middle of nowhere in Colorado to the rollercoaster manufacturer to start testing, uh, framing, you know, basically track, uh, I know sensors and how we would time it.
Right. So we had to do all kinds of [00:20:00] crazy math to figure out, you know, so one of our J one of the photo moments was being taken, uh, at you as you turned a corner. And so we had to time it such for example, that the, okay, so let me put it this way. If you were moving at a consistent rate down a straight track, say 60 miles an hour, you can program that camera to do metimes right, like in a very consistent manner because every single person is moving by one point at the exact same point in time, we had to take pictures of people going around a corner.
So the first person to get. We’d have to take a photo of, but then as the car like this, the series of seven cars turned, it would slow down progressively. So the timing between each car had to be adjusted for every single car, if that makes sense. And it was just, it’s insane, stuff like that, that really pushed us in ways that we never thought we’d be pushed.
I mean, I dropped outta college. So what do I know about math? Literally nothing. [00:21:00] So it was pretty challenging in a lot of
Ismail: ways. This whole ride got a ton of attention. There’s a lot of blog posts about it. I think I even saw Kanye west was about to get on it, but couldn’t cause there was a lot of hoopla.
Uh, so I’m gonna, I’m gonna include, uh, anything we talk about in the show, be in the show notes for people to check out if they’re interested. Yeah. But I’m really curious about the mindset because
Ismail: a lot of people give different advice where there’s they say, Hey, if you don’t know how to do something, don’t do it, pass it on to somebody else, sub it out or basically don’t do it.
Right. So you have Sam and Joe and they have a photo booth company that they got into by accident. Why did you believe build a rollercoaster photo experience for one of the biggest tech companies in the world at the biggest event in the world? Yeah, we can do that. What gave you that confidence to take that.
Sam: Hmm, that’s a good question. Maybe it’s either confidence or folly, right? So, um, I’ll answer the confidence one. Everyone else can judge, whether it’s maybe folly. No, I don’t know if we’d be having this [00:22:00] awesome conversation if it had gone poorly. So let’s just put it that way. Right. thankfully we had a 100% uptime.
In fact, we had more uptime in our system than the rollercoaster had itself. There was just a couple moments where they had to deposit and reset some stuff. I think the confidence is born from our ability to believe that if we don’t get it right, we’ll figure out a way to get it right. Like it’s not so much confidence, I guess, as much as perseverance, if that makes sense.
I think that’s the best way to look at it. I don’t, we didn’t know that we could do it really, really, really well. We knew that we were gonna have to learn a whole lot and honestly, we even underestimated how much we’d have to learn to pull this off. But what we do know is that we won’t stop until we do something, you know, until we get it as right as we humanly possibly can.
And that perseverance and that grit and the [00:23:00] determination is, um, what looks like confidence after something goes well, you know, we were definitely not dissuade by the fear. And so I guess from that perspective, um, I don’t. I’m not, I’m kind of a cautious person sometimes. So sometimes I even surprise myself by what I say yes to, but I think it really helps to know that I’m not gonna give up on something.
Ismail: Yeah. You know, I, I also think it may come with experience, uh, of doing different things in life where you kind of laying on this philosophy that everything’s figureoutable right. Mm-hmm and I think Steve jobs had this quote where he told someone like everything you look at around you, whether anything, whether it’s cars, buildings, bridges, or whatever, any product was created by somebody like no more special than you.
So it’s not, uh, once you wrap your mind around that, it starts making you think that yeah, why can’t I do it? Why can’t I be the person that does that? Well, well,
Sam: and I think that’s really, really good point. Like if you don’t feel capable or you don’t feel confident, you, you always have the ability to find people that [00:24:00] are, and we absolutely relied on people that were way smarter than Joe and I, cuz we didn’t produce a single line of code for this event.
And I had no idea what the guys had to do to come up with the, you know, wild timing between each car. Like I said, I am not good at math. And so we relied on other people, you know, I’m confident, for example, I’m more confident in my ability to find better and smarter people than me than I am in actually accomplishing something.
And because there’s a ton of brilliant people in the world, a a lot is possible. I just saw on LinkedIn the other day, a post that was kind of. It was like a then end now post. And it was a picture in 2002 of Elon Musk and a few people in our hallway at the start of SpaceX and then flash forward to 2020.
And it’s this like futuristic looking rocket being launched into space. And Elon Musk is absolute brilliant [00:25:00] guy from a, from a like, you know, knowledge and information perspective, but he’s not building the rockets by himself. He’s brought some of the most brilliant people in the world around him, and they’re doing this stuff together.
Ismail: That’s a, that’s such an interesting concept of building the right team. And I feel like a small example for me personally, is that I just remember this one, it’s kind of a random moment that sticks out to me in my life where I was at this like world renowned real estate finance program at NYU mm-hmm
And they brought in this famous accountant to come teach, uh, and it was like a classroom full of students from around the world, like Saudi Arabia and Dubai, and everyone was coming here to learn from this accountant. And I remember, wow, feverishly taking notes. And he is talking about these complicated financial things about real estate.
And the professor towards the end of the session said, Hey, if you guys need assistance, you can hire me as a consultant. I’m happy to help you. And for whatever reason, that just clicked to me at an early age that
Assembling the right team.
Ismail: you don’t have to be the best at everything, right. There’s people out there [00:26:00] that are really, really, really good and more than willing to work, uh, for you.
So it’s more about assembling the right team.
Sam: I agree yeah. With the right people by your side, confidence takes on a completely different shape and what you didn’t think you’d be able to do before now, you feel like you’re able to do, um, so it does come, I think with experience, but again, do you all, even your association with other people and, and the building out of, of, uh, a team.
Ismail: So having said all that, though, AF after you did this crazy Google event, uh, you didn’t do it again, right? Why is that
Sam: yeah, no great question. Well, it was a great learning experience and the intensity and the amount of work that it took to pull off was such that we felt that it was probably not the best direction for our company, because one of our core pillars of success at snap bar had had been, and, and was at that time smart, sustainable scale.
And for as much money as we made around that event, [00:27:00] it was, it would be really difficult to scale because it vol it involved myself, my brother, you know, our lead engineers, uh, these contractors we’d hire and the rest of our team. So, so much. And how often could you replicate yourself to do more and more events like that?
Not so often. So we focused or we decided to focus at that time, even more heavily on doing, you know, what felt a lot, like a lot more boring and small scale, but a lot more frequently, you know, to do a lot more of it. That’s been a consistent theme in the history of snap bar continues to this day that we want to aim for smart, sustainable scale, not just the lucrative, kinda one off big name events.
And, uh, that’s a helpful to remember because it’s really easy to get distracted, I think, or really excited about landing and NFL gig, but the NFL or sorry, NFL, but the super bowl, right? The super bowl only happens once a year. Great gig [00:28:00] to have, but I know that we make more money than we’d make at the super bowl at all the other little holiday parties that we do.
So what is ultimately more valuable? Um, well, depends on your focus as a company, but we have been trying to focus on the scale part a lot and therefore we try to automate, uh, we try to, you know, I guess do bite size stuff that we can just do a ton of.
Ismail: Yeah. And, and, you know, there, there’s always a lot of people that say this is the right way to build a company.
This is the right way, you know, do the Walmart model, do the mm-hmm Nordstrom model. And what I really respect about you is that from all the time I’ve known you, you never do that. Right. You kind of talk about what you did and it’s really up to the individual. What kind of business they wanna build? Do you wanna build a premium brand?
Do you wanna do a lot of volume? It’s totally up to you, right? There’s different challenges in, in whichever one you choose. Yeah. But you,
Do things that don’t scale
Ismail: you mentioned this scale concept and I feel like you’re, you’re kind of, at least to me, you, you’re known as someone that likes to focus on scale. I assume you’re familiar with the, um, Paul Graham essay.[00:29:00]
Do you know Paul Graham?
Sam: No, totally. Yeah.
Ismail: The, uh, do things that don’t scale. Yeah. Have you, have you read that essay? I’m curious to hear put a while ago.
Sam: Yeah. Yeah. Um,
well, so you, your, your point pre Paul pulgram was an interesting one. It’s not that I don’t believe that the Uber for this or the Airbnb for that is a bad idea, right? Sometimes you see these models being played out and you’re like, oh, I have to do this. So to be fair, we have absolutely referenced Zappos and Nordstrom when it comes to how we wanna build our customer service.
Why? Because they have the most reputable customer service programs. I would say almost in the world when I, when I say customer service, who do you think about of curiosity? I dunno if we’ve ever had this conversation
Ismail: just recently, the CEO, the founder of Zappos just passed away. Uh, so that was really sad to say, cause I actually admired him for the same thing.
Like in the early days of [00:30:00] Zappos, they were like, that’s the name I would think of. They were world renowned for the unique culture and the focus on customer service that they built. So I would, that’s the first name I would think of.
Sam: Right? Yeah. So. Yeah. Okay, good. So, so that’s kind of what we’ve thought.
So nothing against, right. Those models I love using right. Hero companies and, and, and hero people and icons to model in one sense of vision or desire to go after things. So I don’t wanna, I wanna make sure I don’t discredit them, but yes, we try to figure out our own thing and build what feels right to us and to our customers.
So while I focus a lot on, and, and I say things like we wanna focus on smart, sustainable scale, I think, I mean that more from the perspective of, I don’t wanna have to be looped into everything because I love the concept of what Paul Graham’s talking about and do things that don’t scale the idea. You know, I mean, this is super loose and rough, but right.
The idea is don’t focus so much on the scale, focus on something that’s absolutely going to like thrill your clients, right. That’s [00:31:00] go, you’re do a really good job with something small and it will scale. And so when it comes to how we like to approach it, um, we wanna start with something that works really, really well for our clients and scale that.
And, and I don’t know, I guess I say scale a lot, but I’m not talking scale like Uber, where you break the rules in various cities, because you just wanna push your ride so hard. Right. So I think it’s maybe relative and that, um, smart maybe is just an important word in there as scale, because I don’t think it’s smart to break a ton of rules and earn a reputation as kind of like.
I don’t know, pushy company in that sense. Um, and I really do think that it’s gonna, it’s really smart to build, build really high quality things that are easy to scale. And then I believe the scale will come. Um, but that’s the, the first idea is what can we build that we can repeat again and again, that’s really [00:32:00] good.
And the problem would see yes, is that it was really good, but it definitely couldn’t be built again and again, does that make sense?
Ismail: Right. And, and to be fair, I think Paul Graham obviously likes scale too. He’s a, oh, for sure. In the tech tech world. Right. I, I think he’s referring to like the early days of a startup or a company.
Right. And it just reminds me of a, I don’t know if you’ve, you’ve heard this, if not, I can send it to you separately, but there’s a very, like a fascinating interview with the founder of Airbnb who was funded by Paul Graham. And he talks about how, when they were trying to think about the service they wanted to build, uh, what would be like an eight outta 10 travel experience.
Right. Uh, and they would try to figure out what that would be and how, how can they scale that? And they would just ask the same question, how do we do nine outta 10, a 10 outta 10? And like, what, what about going 11 outta 10 incredible travel experience. And then once you define that and you perfect that then you scale it, you don’t start scaling, you have to scale something.
And that something usually happens, uh, by focusing on not scaling and just doing something great.
Sam: Yeah, no, exactly. Right. [00:33:00] Um, that is something that happened naturally at snap bar, because the funny thing is that we did not have this core pillar of success until. Maybe 2018 when we had actually built something that was scaling organically, then we thought, okay, now our focus needs to be scaling it a lot faster, getting it to a lot more places, but to be fair, that we already had something that had fantastic reviews that had a lot of raving fans like Kelly gear, like Kevin Kelly would write about.
And so while we didn’t, you know, I’ve never really thought about the fact that we were doing exactly what Paul Paul Graham talks about. But in one sense, we had, in fact, in the early days of snap bar, I wouldn’t even have known who Paul Graham was. So I, I know that we were kind of going along those lines and some of it was also the, a little bit born out of more ignorance, right?
To be honest, we didn’t know that we could, scale was not even a term that I used a ton in the first couple years of going full time. We really just wanted to make a [00:34:00] living, right. This was still a tiny little business. We just, we didn’t know if it could work. We kind of had this thought that it could, and we got into it.
And for us getting our next gig meant doing a really great job at the one we were at right then and getting people to fall in love with our photography style or our lighting style meant making sure that the lighting was dialed in at, at this event that I’m at right now, that, you know, that was kind of our mentality.
And so we really did focus a ton on the quality of the experience before we got excited about, you know, being in every state in America, or things like that.
Business growth before pandemic
Ismail: so let’s jump ahead to present day, almost present day. You, you did everything, you scaled a lot of success, February 20, 20, right? Yeah. And I use I’m using that time on purpose.
Um, cuz also I feel like, um, I’m, I’m in the photo booth business as well, and I kind of feel like people hear that and they’re like, oh, oh, those things at the that’s nice. Yeah. Um, so can you please give us, uh, uh, [00:35:00] paint the picture February, 2020, uh, before the pandemic hit, how big can a photo with company get?
What were you guys on track for? What have you accomplished? Where are you guys at at that point?
Sam: Yeah. So in February, 2020 we had just finished 2019. It was our biggest year yet we did about 3.2 million in revenue. We had plans to open up five new states slash cities in this year. We’d ordered a ton more gear from the self, for the selfie stand product, which is something that we ship from our base in Washington around the world.
And well more, mostly the us, but technically the world. And we were on track to do four to 5 million. At least that’s what we were projecting in the early part of this year, this year. So yeah. February was looking great.
Ismail: yeah. I, I, I relate to that. Um,
Long term goal.
Ismail: what AB what about, okay, so you were on track to do around [00:36:00] 5 million, 20, 20 mm-hmm but did you, what was your longer.
Goal picture runway at that point in time, how big did you think snap bar could get in the longer term?
Sam: Huge. Um, we were thinking 15 to 20 million easy in revenue per year, uh, over time, which would have meant a valuation of even more. Right. We had been, we did, we were projecting to do about four to 5 million in 2020 in four cities.
We had just opened up Austin in February and we were only going to open four more this year. So if you’re doing, you know, four to five mill in four cities, and you don’t even have incredible saturation in the LA market or the San Francisco market that were still new to us, and you continued to focus on big markets like New York, like Orlando or Miami, or, uh, you know, Dallas and Houston and the like, you know, 15 to 20 million wouldn’t have been that hard.
I mean, it would’ve [00:37:00] been hard. It would’ve been logistically a ton of heavy lifting, but that was the plan was smart, sustainable scale, doing what we were doing in Seattle. In a lot of other cities, we knew that we could hit about a million dollars per city. That was the goal. And so it was just an amount of opening enough cities and giving it enough time to scale up and with a selfie sand product, we were even, we were kind of accelerating even faster to those long term goals.
And I don’t know. I don’t even know if they were stated. It’s not like I had 15 million written on a board anywhere, but my brother and I in our conversations felt that a photo booth company could become that Bri become that big, um, over the course of maybe four to six more years.
Ismail: Yeah. And I think it’s helpful to paint that picture because like I said, a lot of people kind of just view it as this cool thing that’s done, but there’s a lot of potential in the event industry.
There’s a lot, like it’s not just photo booths, all the aspects of the event industry, there’s a lot of money get that it gets churned in that field. So I think it’s helpful to paint the picture of the potential for people, [00:38:00] right?
Sam: Because we have to be really clear about what types of events there are. I think when your average person hears about an event or me, this is how, what I used to think about an event.
It would be the types of events I was going to primarily. So weddings, parties, maybe a conference or two, not barely though, to be completely honest. I was not in an industry that required a ton of that. Maybe one expo. But when you think about how many expos and how many conferences and how many parties and holiday events and team building events and marketing activations are happening on a daily basis around just this country, just the us from so many different brands.
And then you add weddings in and you add private events like personal. Like birthday parties, which we would do sometimes baby showers, church events, college events, I mean, there’s stuff happening every single day where budget is created to entertain [00:39:00] thrill, excite, engage people. That is the industry that we worked in.
It’s massive. It’s, it’s a multibillion dollar industry
Ismail: for sure. Each one of those things that you mentioned, like, even if you just focus on weddings in New York, I think that alone could be a multimillion dollar, uh, business because there’s yes. Weddings happening every day. Tons of absolutely.
Sam: Oh yeah, for sure.
Ismail: For sure.
Spending your time as a CEO.
Ismail: Let’s stick to this time, period. Right. Things are still great. I’m just curious as a CEO, what are you spending your time on at this time? Like what do you do each day? Hmm.
Sam: Yeah. Uh, in February, quite a bit of goal setting, kind of OKR development with my team OKRs, uh, you know, being objectives, uh, and key results, um, similar to like, you know, KPIs that other companies, et cetera, what did we wanna do this year?
When are we gonna open up the cities? How did we land on four to five cities? Not seven to 10 and 2020. And which ones were they gonna be and what was the plan for hiring? And when would we [00:40:00] go to each city? You know, stuff like that. A lot of strategy, I guess, would be the best word to kind encapsulate at all, uh, hiring and everything to do.
Creating the I, or, well that that’s not true. I wasn’t hiring people actively. Again, this is strategy related to building out the team. Let’s put it that way. I’ve spent a lot of time doing as much PR type work as I could. I was getting into that more and more since February I’ve been launched into it in a much greater way than I ever was, but I was trying to establish myself as a, some version of a thought leader in the, in the event space or especially in like the photo experience, video experience space.
Yeah. That’s about it. A lot of team meetings, you know, again, mostly strategy stuff. There was no specific pieces of business that relied on me and maybe the closest thing would be marketing cuz we didn’t have a marketing department and I’ve spent a lot of my time thinking about like marketing, but not even just like [00:41:00] individual campaigns, more, just everything to do with marketing or like the brand, how we’re positioned, what we could do better on our site, how we could explain things better.
It’s not so much like great fancy marketing tactics that I’m sitting around thinking about what I would
Ismail: take out as a key point there is that you were focused working on the business, not stuck working in the business. And I know that, um, that’s that I think that’s from this famous book called the EMI revisited where mm-hmm uh, they basically analyze why do so many small businesses fail and it’s because.
Um, you’ve read this book, correct me if I’m wrong. Yes. But I remember
Sam: that you acquired reading at snap art in the early days.
Ismail: oh, really? It it’s fun. I think what I remember in the early part of that book is that he talks about like people who start companies are usually passionate about something like the baker wants to open up a bakery.
Yeah. You know, a chef wants to open up a restaurant and they’re really passionate about that aspect of the business. And they get stuck working on that thing as opposed to stepping back and working on growing the business and the accounting function and the, and the marketing [00:42:00] function and everything else that helps the business grow.
Um, is that correct? Do you think I got that right? Yeah,
Sam: absolutely. I think so many people get too caught up in the specifics of their business and spend too little time on the, I don’t know, generics. I don’t know if that’s even the word, right? The, the, just the fundamental business principles that might apply just as well to a bakery as to a photo booth company.
Right? Of course there are industry differences and logistical differences between both, but if you are a baker and you’re stuck cooking pies all day, you’re not going to have the time or the brain bandwidth to think about opening shop number 2, 3, 4, and then franchising it across an entire country.
And the longer I was stuck doing events, being away from my family on the weekends and wishing that I could make up the time during the. Stressed out, dealing with support issues when events were inevitably going wrong [00:43:00] because of tech failures or traffic preventing some of our people from getting to an event on time.
The more of that, that I was involved in the less my brain had the ability, or at least this is the way I interpreted the less my brain had the ability to think about where we were going in the big picture and in the long term. So the more that you can spend working on your business in that sense, and, and I, I guess I see that or talk about that as strategy, the better.
Ismail: it’s February 20, 20 Sam, the CEO is doing the right thing. He’s focusing on working on the business. He’s planning, he’s strategizing. But then as, uh, Mike Tyson likes to say, everybody got a plan until they get punched in the mouth. Right. So, right. I think the entire event industry in some way or another got punched in the mouth, like I admired you from afar based on like how you reacted to this, right?
So you, you became kind of known for the pivoting, the innovating that you were doing after the pandemic, you mentioned you got into full [00:44:00] PR mode before we got on this recording. I just saw a New York times article, uh, that you guys were really heavily featured in where you talked about, uh, the pivot you made into keep your city smiling.
And I’m sure you’re gonna get into this next and then the virtual booth software. So yeah, but before we jump into that, the
Effect of pandemic on business
Ismail: planning, everything kind of falls apart, everything kind of dies. What do you
Sam: do next? Yeah. So, well, I’ll tell you what I actually did. I panicked a little bit. right. That’s not what you’re supposed to do, but that’s probably inevitable at a certain point.
I did the same yeah, exactly. Right. Everyone was a little panicked and so we, yeah. You know, it’s how do you, by
Ismail: the way, oh, go ahead. What, what does that, like, how does that manifest for you panicking? Like, yeah, for me, um, my wife will tell you, like, at very late at night, I just start pacing in my living room and venting and ranting and, and kind of just going on a whole spiel.[00:45:00]
How does that look like for you?
Sam: Yeah, I get pretty quiet and I internalize a lot of decision making and question asking and I sleep poorly and I eat more and I just stay quiet and stuck in my head and wonder and wonder and wonder about, you know, the million possibilities. So that’s kind of how it happened for me, but it didn’t happen right away.
Right. It wasn’t like, oh, March 11th. Boom. All of a sudden, same is panicked. It was more of like this, um, kind of, you know, after a, I don’t know it was as if I was looking at. I imagine this is kind of what it was like in the stock market in 2008. Right? Of course they say that there’s a day that everything started to like really suffer and go down.
But the fact is things continued to happen over weeks and weeks, and it was like bad news layered [00:46:00] on top of more bad news. And so the first thing I, you know, I invest in Bitcoin and, you know, not, not a ton, just a little, you know, just, you know, some, and just the other day, it tanked like 10% or 11%. I can’t remember.
It was a lot. And people were, you know, going off on Twitter saying that they knew it was gonna happen and that it was gonna be impossible for it to break 20,000 or whatever. And a week later it was fine. It was back up to where it was maybe even a little bit higher. Right. Those people
Ismail: on Twitter that know it all kinda love those people.
Sam: Right. And so when you’re looking at the stocks, you know, those charts, when you’re looking at the numbers, it, you don’t realize when Bitcoin’s down 2%, that it might go down 10%. You don’t realize that when the stock market has, has lost a thousand points, it might go down 8,000 points over the course of the month.
And that’s kind of how it was in February and March bad day, but I didn’t realize it was gonna be that bad. And then another bad day, and you begin to worry a little bit more. [00:47:00] And so it was this gradual creeping of panic. It wasn’t this immediate, oh my gosh, what am I gonna do?
Ismail: It’s it’s kind of reminds me of like a, a ball of snow, like rolling downhill.
And you’re like, wow. That snowball got really big pretty quickly. Yeah. Um, okay, so you panicked, uh, I appreciate the honesty because I, I also panicked, uh again, no one wants to show that or, or right. Talk about it, but yeah. Then you start, obviously you ended up pivoting into things that worked out pretty well.
Yeah. So how did
Dealing with panic
Ismail: you go from that panic to all right. I gotta figure something out.
Sam: Yeah. I think the New York times article, uh, puts it like in a fit of insomnia or something like that. I can’t remember exactly how, um, the writer put it, but I, I, I couldn’t sleep one night. It was this gradual buildup of worrisome news about our business and about the world.
So I couldn’t sleep, it got up and felt that a decision needed to be made about what we would do. Uh, and, and I will say [00:48:00] this one decision had been made prior to that fitful night of sleep, which was that we were not going to abandon snap bar or our team. That was the first decision. The first decision was right.
Do you pull your money out of the stock market? Do do you say bye. I I’m tuning out and I’ll tune back in later when things are a little bit more stabilized or peaceful. So Joe and I had that decision ability. We did not have any debt and we did not have any investors. So if we needed to shut down snap bar or go into some version of hin.
We could have, and we thought about it. Why didn’t you? Yeah, we love our people. We love our team. I, I couldn’t really see myself being comfortable as a person just throwing in the towel. And that’s probably, if we go back to what we discussed a little bit earlier in this chat related to, you know, less confidence and more [00:49:00] grit and perseverance, and maybe just stubbornness, we, I like to make things work and PEV having people on my team that I really care about only made my, and not just my, my brother and I’s resilience to stickiness out and kind of throwing all of our savings that we had in the business back into this reinvention process.
Um, well, yeah, it just seemed like maybe we could make it work. We didn’t know though. It
Ismail: makes me wonder. Right. Cause I I’ve thought about this myself too. It’s stressful. It’s you’re panicked. You can’t sleep. You’re like health is out the window. Yeah. People rely on you, right. Mm-hmm but as stressful as it is and as bad as it is, do you kinda like it?
I don’t know if that sounds weird, but like you, you wanna keep fighting. You don’t wanna give up, you can’t do that to your like, does some weird part of you enjoy that those bad times? It’s like Gary V says that he almost kind of at a level, Gary Vanerchuk, uh, um, mm-hmm wishes that he [00:50:00] lost it all. Cuz he would wanna build
Sam: it back.
Yes. Um, I can relate to that for sure. It’s one of those things like what’s wrong with us, man? yeah, I know. Right. um, I don’t know if you would ever realize it at the time. It’s probably a subconscious level of determination or excitement around the possibility of rebuilding and reinventing. I think it’s why even when, okay.
Let’s put it this way when things are ever going really, really, really well. Do you ever think about starting something brand new? Me
Ismail: personally? I I, yeah. I think I always have ideas and things cooking up in the back of my mind somewhere. Just I can’t turn that off personally.
Sam: Right, right, right. So same. I have been in places where the business is going.
Great. It’s growing even at. Significant rates. Um, and I still love to think about other business ideas. I’m almost tempted to spend time working on a different idea, completely unrelated to what I’m working on. [00:51:00] Is it efficient? No. Is it focused? No, but there’s something in me that just loves the idea of trying to take something from nothing to something or to grow, or, you know, give birth to this new business baby, as it were weird analogy, but, you know, that’s kind of how it feels sometimes is like, man, I think that I could the person to do this or to create this.
And I think that feeling even when things are going great is the same feeling that gets tapped into when things are not going well. Now my personality happens to be pretty well suited for times of chaos. Um, I’m an eight on the Enneagram. I know some people hate that. Um, but we use it at work to help, um, each other better understand how kind of in one sense, we are wired as teammates and team members.
Um, and so I am the type of person that you want. Um, when things are going bad, you want me on your side? That’s just kind of how [00:52:00] I. Am as a person.
Ismail: So, so if I can just
Ismail: piggyback on that and I’m curious, cuz you seem, you have this very cool, calm, demeanor. Um, it doesn’t never seem like you said you panicked, but you never seem, you don’t show it outward.
You’re physically, right. I think people say the same thing about me and that always surprises me because in the inside I’m all over the place and I don’t know how that possibly looks calm to someone else, but I guess I hide it. Well, do you relate to that? Do you feel like you’re going crazy internally, but outwardly you look calm.
Sam: Yeah. I, I never feel like I’m going crazy, but well, I mean, I, it, it depends. Yeah, for sure. I absolutely relate. I don’t look at people have asked me why I don’t seem stressed. People have wondered why I seem to handle it better than they do. And I think that that’s just a false narrative. It’s not actually true.
It’s just that, um, I manifest it differently in that way and um, yeah, totally relate. I, I [00:53:00] never feel crazy though. I mean that is, that is one thing that there is, there is this like you, this weird part of me that really likes chaos and can handle it pretty well. Um, I don’t love being in it and it’s exhausting and I don’t like overeating or not sleeping or any one of the random quote unquote like symptoms or not symptoms, you know, like my outwardly kind of expression of how I’m gonna deal with this thing.
I don’t like those things, but at the same time, I get pretty bored when things are going really smooth. So there’s gotta be some subconscious part of me that, that enjoys it.
Ismail: And I, I relate to that. It’s interesting. I can’t crack that nut. I don’t, I can’t figure out why that is, but I do at some level kind of enjoy the craziness, even though it’s really, really stressful.
Yeah. All right. So now this is all going on. yes. And, and you have this insomnia you’re coming up with, I think it said in the, the article, like 50 ideas. Yep. Can you talk to me about
Coming out with 50 ideas
Ismail: that brainstorming process? Like a lot of people freeze, [00:54:00] right. So how do you come up with 50 ideas in a night? Like what’s that brainstorming look like?
Sam: Yeah, so, well, um, like I said, decision number one had been made. We were going to stick with this. So decision number two was, okay, what do we do? And at the time I had no ideas for what we could do that were related to photo booths. We were really struggling and that’s really where even more of that kind of fitful angst was born.
Is that technically when you think of a pivot, you think of. , you know, I’m facing this way and on a dime, I’m turning the other way. But like, we, we to use the basketball analogy, like we didn’t even keep one foot in place. Like we traveled in that sense, you know, it was, it was not a pivot. It was a, we are leaving this area and going to the next one.
And the reason was that I just, we did not have any good ideas for how we would [00:55:00] sustain our business in the same way with photo booths at the time. Anyways. So the 50 ideas ranged massively from simple stuff that would’ve been far more pivot. Like not even pivot, like it would’ve been more like desperate, like how much of our gear could we sell?
Right? Like that was an idea, like sell off all gear and, and slim down. Cause these ideas by the way, were not all, um, big and bold and company sustaining. Some of them were far more desperate looking clearly did not have the, uh, mechanics in them to support a staff of 18 full-time people or anything like that.
So that was one of the ideas. Another idea was, uh, I mean, this was, I wrote this one really late and I was really getting desperate. Why 50, by the way, side note, no idea. I just challenged myself to do something that felt like extreme and 50 to me seemed like an extreme point. Well, it was because whatever in the middle of the night, when.[00:56:00]
Really struggling to come up with more. I wrote down, start a Instagram account about a paper, like a piece of a roll of toilet paper that escaped the frenzy of everyone buying a hoarding toilet paper and document, right? This roll of toilet paper, life on the lamb, you know, running away from, uh, being
Ismail: hoarded, the, the HDS of people, you know, I’m glad, I’m glad you mentioned that because there’s this guy, James Altucher that also talks about this concept of right.
Coming up with three ideas a day and like flexing that creativity muscle, even when you don’t need it so that when the time comes that you do need it, you can come up with 50 in a day. So I’m glad, I’m glad you referred to
Sam: that. And, and I created funny enough that one I shared with the team and they just laughed me out of the room basically, but I, to spite them all created that Instagram account and I’m not updating it anymore.
I did it for about two weeks and it’s called, um, [00:57:00] what’s it called? It’s called like TP on the run. Yes. Thank you. TP. On the run, I’m still the account owner. It’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything. Well,
Ismail: you may have to pick it up again because I think, uh, they’re running outta stock in the second wave again.
Sam: they really? Oh my gosh. Yeah, that would be that’s funny. So, so some of those ideas were pretty horrible. The other ideas. Well more along the lines of what we ended up sticking to, right. Things like repurposing. Um, our selfie stands. So to become a combination of, uh, hand sanitizing stations with iPads, display like health and safety information, uh, we quickly realized though that the amount of money we’d have to charge for a selfie stand, which is some of our iPad photo booths was way more than what most people had to afford for, you know, basically a, a glamorous sanitizing station.
Ismail: weren’t there people that did really well with that. I feel like there’s a company that there have been now.
Sam: Yeah, [00:58:00] yeah, no, I know. I, I truly believe we could’ve done it if we’d stuck to it. Um, no, there are now some very fancy things and of course a big part of their offering is like customizing the interface of what’s gets shared and all the health and safety info.
And at the time we didn’t have any kind of app. So we would, we were thinking, oh, someone would just have to like create a series of images and play a slideshow that never stops looping. And we’d have to like triple click the home button to put it into that guided access mode so that no one could get out of it.
Um, so again, we were trying to be as scrappy as possible. Um, anyways, that won’t go through the 51 of the 50 though, was this idea that we could start a gift box company. And, uh, that is the one that won, uh, the night after I wrote those 50 ideas. My leadership team came over to my house and we had, you know, uh, just some drinks and sat around my living room and basically cold the ideas from 50 [00:59:00] to 18.
And then the day after that, my brother and I picked one of the 18 and the rest happened very quickly after that, basically within six or seven days, we had the first version of our website launched.
18 Factoring ideas
Ismail: I imagine when you and your brother were picking one of the 18, you were looking at factors, like what would be the quickest thing that we can do?
What do we have that we can leverage like our existing clients or existing connections?
Sam: Yeah, absolutely. We, we factored all those things in what we had. We also, at this point started factoring in, okay, what’s an idea. That’s big enough to sustain more people because while some of the other ideas weren’t bad, like we thought that we could start using this printer.
We had to print, uh, floor clings. Like if we were able to get our hands on floor cling material, we could put, you know, start printing, like, uh, you know, the signs that everyone has, like the little footprints and the various distance signs and things for, for [01:00:00] glass doors and all these small businesses around their COVID, you know, or their mask policy or all this stuff.
And. Man. That’s a good idea. People have done really well with that as well. And we had this really expensive, fancy printer that could have been repurposed to print quite a bit of stuff, and we could have sold it in some version of an e-commerce store and even taken on customer quests, um, when someone had their own custom designs.
The problem with that is that that’s a business for three people, not 18 people getting started, right. Um, the order size for a small business, ordering a few floor, clings is good, but it’s just not that good. And, uh, we felt that with the, well, okay, let me, let me put it one more thing to, to showcase kind of what our, the thought process.
So not only were we thinking what could sustain more people. We also were looking at those 18 ideas through the lens of what is easiest for us to sell our current clients. Cause our idea was even if it wasn’t related to snap bar, we would [01:01:00] hijack the snap bar list and tell our clients about whatever new thing we were doing and ask them for their support.
Now, most of our clients. With money at the time would’ve been tech clients, which thankfully are most of our clients. We work very heavily in the world of tech, but, um, they did not need floor clings. All of those companies were working remote. And so that, you know, we loved the idea, knew we knew small business and retail needed floor clings.
We even knew like, you know, Nordstrom would’ve needed them, but they would’ve had their own suppliers to do this kind of stuff. So when we were looking at those 18 ideas, those are the two kind of lenses we were looking through, what sustains the most amount of people at snap bar and what is most easily sellable to our current list.
And that’s again where gift boxes kind of came out on top.
Ismail: And I think in the article of mentioned that, uh, you guys earned $500,000 in revenue, uh, within the first three months, which is really impressive because, and I dunno if you relate to the same in this time period, like for [01:02:00] example, in my circle of friends, I feel like I usually have some answers, at least mm-hmm , but I’ve never been in a situation.
Like I have been this year where I’ve said, I don’t know, like more times than I ever have in my life. Like, I don’t know how the market’s gonna go. I don’t know how the industry’s gonna go. Yeah. I don’t know if that’s a good idea. Uh, do you feel like you were in that kind of, um, phase at that
Sam: time? Yeah, I do.
Um, for sure. I mean, it just felt like I didn’t know a whole lot. And so we were in this, uh, I don’t know what the best kind of I, you know, analogy is, but yeah, it was like. It’s like a rodeo. Yeah. , you know, like you’re just trying to hold on for dear life.
Ismail: So I, I know there’s gonna be a lot of people listening to this from the photo booth industry.
And they’re gonna beat me up if I don’t ask
Launch of Virtual photo booth.
Ismail: about, uh, virtual booths. Right. So mm-hmm, I think I saw here that that was another thing that you were working on and it said that, uh, you had one developer in like four months. Yeah. Build this whole new virtual photo booth [01:03:00] program. And just, just to line that up with my timeline, did you guys, did you start that before the pandemic?
Cause it felt like it came out really soon after things shut down.
Sam: Yeah, it actually wasn’t, it didn’t take four months. I, I, if the article said that, um, the confusion would’ve been, maybe that it launched like four months after the bad stuff started happening, like towards the end of February, when we saw this, these preliminary kind of warning signs for the events industry, um, we launched it right at the end of April.
And no, we did not begin working on it until the week of March 11th or so, so, oh no, wait a minute. Yeah. About that actually about that time. So it was not something we’d ever thought of or had the idea for pre COVID.
Ismail: So it’s, it’s something like when I speak to people. That are not in the event industry.
And I try to explain, I dunno, if you relate to this, explain the virtual photo booth they just don’t get it. And I can’t get them to understand. They’re like, [01:04:00] can’t I do this on Snapchat? Why do I need this right. Blah, blah, blah. How would you explain
What is a Photo booth? Why it is so successful?
Ismail: the virtual photo booth and why is it starting to like have some success in the industry?
Sam: Yeah. Well, to understand it and, and you know, let’s talk about photo booths for a second. Why could photo booths become a big business? Like the question you asked earlier, why? I mean 15 to 20 million, if that was ever possible for us to do, if we ever had done that, why? Well, it’s not just because people are obsessed with having fun in front of a camera and it’s definitely not because there’s that many drunk people at every event, just spending hours in front of a photo booth.
Right. Because I feel like that’s kind of the, uh, stigma, if there’s any stigma for a photo booth that some of them have. Right. But you think of two things you think of like crazy people at a wedding that have had a couple too many drinks, or you think of a literal box in a mall that you have to either put coins into or [01:05:00] swipe your debit card.
Uh, you know, to get a little photo strip in the images are not that great, et cetera, et cetera, photo booths standard in person photo booth, Ended up becoming a marketing tool. Um, and what they ended up doing is a facilitating user generated content. That is what a photo booth does at the end of the day.
It helps you take selfies or pictures of your friends. Sometimes you have props. Sometimes you don’t, it allows you to brand these things that allows you to remove the backgrounds. And these things allows you to overlay them with cool videos. It allows you to create content that populates well, basically every single one of our social networks.
That’s why brands love photo booths. It’s why they book photo booths. Primarily, of course, it really, really helps that you’re able to have some fun doing it in person, but the big reason that it could have become a 15 [01:06:00] to 20 million business is because of user generated content. The hope that people are going to have fun, take photos and then share them with their friends and networks, um, the, uh, your choice of social network, right?
Like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, et cetera. So that’s the reason that virtual photo booths work is that it’s not so much about, oh my goodness, this is going to be so much fun. I can’t believe. This is a, you know, like we’re so lucky to have a photo booth at our event. And everyone was hanging out at the booth all night.
That’s not the case. The case, the reason that people, um, like the idea of virtual photo booths is it allows for branded user generated content in an environment like a virtual conference where there’s not a whole lot of other things to do, but sit and listen and chat when those occasional breaks come up.
So while you are listening to the keynote, you [01:07:00] could be exploring the exhibitor floor as it were. Why? Because in this world of virtual events, you are able to have two screens open at once, right? And so the same thing, you could be like snapping a selfie, um, while you’re listening to a keynote, you’re paying attention, but you, you don’t have to like sit there as if you’re in class, right?
It’s the same thing at an in-person event, you’re at a keynote and someone’s on their laptop answering an email at the same time that they’re listening. So this is the world we live in virtual events. This is how these conferences and these events are going on. And the virtual photo booth allows people to have a little bit of fun that doesn’t involve sitting and listening.
And at the same time, create branded user generated content that brands hope is gonna be used in the same way that they thought this content was gonna be used pre COVID, which is post it to social networks. Say, Hey, here I am tuning into CMX, virtual versus CMX in person it’s it’s in, in that sense, it’s very consistent.
So hopefully. Explains [01:08:00] the business case for why this could be a cool idea. Um, the virtual photo booth product will become a million dollar product for us in, in, in, under a year, um, just to put it into perspective. So that’s pretty exciting. And, um, yeah, that’s, that’s
Ismail: mind boggling. I mean, I think, I think in the article, which I, I thought this was a great article link to it for everybody as well.
You go from, you’re about to make 5 million in revenue. Oh my God, it’s all gone. What do I do? Yeah. You start, uh, to keep your city smiling, 500,000, you start the virtual booth. And I think in the article, I mentioned that you were on track to do about 2 million this year. So from five to six to zero to two , um, that, that is a crazy story.
And I think the grandkids would love to hear about that, uh, one day. Yeah. Yeah.
Sam: I’m hoping. So
Outlook on Virtual
Ismail: what about the outlook on virtual cause eventually? Yeah. At some point, at least I believe there will be some returns of some normalcy mm-hmm um, people will start going the vaccine it’ll go back to normal at some [01:09:00] point.
Right. I don’t know when, um, right in person in person will come back. Do you still see an outlook for virtual past that and how, why or a one form?
Sam: Yeah, I do. I think the lessons we’ve all learned playing around in the virtual landscape are gonna be hard to shake off. What do people miss? They miss.
Traveling, they miss human interaction. They miss the experiential elements that events provide. They’re not actually missing the content because funny enough, the content is now easier to access than it was for in-person events. I can go, I can hop from one seminar to another, a lot faster than I can walk across a casino floor in Vegas to get to another part of the exhibit hall, to listen to some other event.
That’s crowded with people and I’m now there too late. And I have to stand in the back for 45 minutes. Have you ever had that experience, right? Like that is how these [01:10:00] exposing conferences would happen. It’s information overload. It’s a ton of walking a ton of time on your feet. What were the best parts about going to an expo in Vegas?
Seeing people walking the strip at night, looking at the lights. It’s not like Vegas smells great, but you know, I mean, it’s the sites, it’s the sound. It’s the people, it’s the experience. Um, people wanna get back to that really fast, but what virtual has allowed us to see and play around with a little bit is new ways of delivering content, finding different types of speakers that maybe could tune in virtually so that they didn’t have to travel.
Meaning I think some in-person events are going to stick with people tuning in virtually and presenting a keynote, um, just because they might be able to better afford a and even better speaker at the end of the day. I’d rather listen to Malcolm glad. Speaking to me virtually than some random person I never did live just because they could happen to afford their live presence, if that makes sense.
Right. Um, so, and that’s, that’s just one aspect. [01:11:00] Uh, the virtual photo booth, um, you know, I think that there’s certain ways that it could be used it when in person comes back. I also know that people are gonna be requesting all kinds of in person, really fun experiential stuff, uh, down the road as well. But when you’re at an expo and you don’t wanna have to go around to every single booth, um, and, you know, talk to everyone, could somehow one of the vendors there leverage like various little signs that they put around saying like, take a virtual snap.
I mean, I don’t know. Now I’m just kind of spit balling. Honestly. I’m so focused right now on making virtual the best, all that to say. I really believe that there’s gonna be ways for us to incorporate what we’ve learned and, and make it make sense for the future. But the even better answer is that I think that it’s going to be hybrid right then that’s kind of what I was getting to in.
Person’s gonna come back. Like you said, there’s no doubt about it. People miss the experience virtual we’ve [01:12:00] learned some really, really cool stuff. The best of both worlds is going to be hybrid. And that’s where we are excited to play.
Ismail: That’s something I totally agree with. And I was gonna jump and say this too is as someone who organized a conference and I was forced to go virtual.
Yeah. Right. Me and the attendees and everybody was kind of surprised at how much value you can get through a virtual conference. Right. And I feel like if I did do the conference again in the future in person, there’s no question in my mind that you do it virtually as well, right? Because there’s not much extra cost of doing so.
And you open up to a much wider audience as well. Like you said, people that can’t afford to go and fly speakers and attendees alike. Uh, so it’s, it’s kind of a no brainer to me as a conference organizer that the hybrid approach will stick around at least. Yeah. It’ll help
Sam: you get a better consistent, like attendance in one sense.
Like I can’t make, uh, the same conference every single year [01:13:00] stuff gets in the way. So if you don’t have an option for me to tune in virtually, well, now you have a huge disruption in my commitment to going to your
Ismail: event. And, and I think before we move on from this topic, I, I
Inspirational words for aspiring photo booths.
Ismail: imagine photo Boother listening to this, they’re struggling.
Uh, they’re trying to survive. Do you have any words on. Like what, what value there is to outlast and survive now, uh, given the fact that so many won’t, and then if you’re one of the last, not the last few, but if you’re one of the ones that are still standing in the future, when things do come back, I would imagine you can benefit and grow much quicker at that point.
Do you agree with that? Yeah, I
Sam: mean, so the depressing part is looking at it from the perspective you shared, which is I believe a wise thing to do from the business perspective. It’s depressing because oftentimes we’re friends with our competitors and the people that we are in business, quote, unquote against.
Right. Um, I think these supposed average give or [01:14:00] take is like what, 22% of small businesses shut down between like March and June. I’m pretty sure I read that stat very recently. I think a lot more have shut down since, um, of that 22%, I would assume it’s weighted pretty heavily towards, well, not out of the whole 22%, but I imagine that events have suffered even more.
I think the other stat that I saw is that 50% of the, um, people in the events industry are unemployed. That’s depressing and it’s sad. It does mean however that the playing field is becoming a little bit than it used to be and sticking around. Does therefore have this. Potential value. If you are not totally ignoring what you plan to resurrect and bring back [01:15:00] post COVID.
If that’s the way that you’re thinking about it as a business owner, which I know a lot of people are, right. Uh, a lot of people have gone into hibernation. They’ve not shut down their businesses. They were in a decent enough spot financially to where they can put everything in the garage, cancel some of their leases, let their team go.
But beyond that, they’re waiting for a time when in person comes back to step on the gas again. And so, you know, I think that that’s, uh, I think that that’s smart. I, I think it can be smart. We obviously that wasn’t an option for us. We wanted to keep pushing through, but I don’t think it’s a bad strategy to just try to wait it out.
Um, because a lot of photo booth companies and other event companies have shut down. So that’s one way to look at it. Uh, the other thing, I mean, but the encouraging the encouragement then, right? The less depressing side is that I would con I would encourage people to focus on ways that they can be ready for a new version of events.
I know people have wanted to stay away in certain [01:16:00] regards from virtual photo booths. If we’re speaking, you know, if, if I’m gonna speak to those, um, people, photo booths specifically. And that’s fine. I mean, don’t get into virtual photos, but somehow be ready for the day that hybrid becomes the new standard or somehow be ready for the day.
When someone asks you to take your in person stuff and create a version of it for their online audience, it’s gonna be really awkward, right. To say, oh, well, I don’t have that. You know what, what’s someone gonna think? What were you doing? All of COVID then, right? I mean, there’s a chance that you weren’t doing anything during all of COVID and you were just hi, which again is fine.
But I think that there’s a lot of reinvention and reimagination that could happen, um, as photo booth companies and really any event services, uh, companies can kinda rethink what it looks like to have virtual live and hybrid in the mix and to take certain aspects of what they love doing and then turn it on its head.
You know, if you really loved creating custom [01:17:00] sets and taking photos of people, interacting with custom sets, maybe focus on the custom set design and leave the photo photography of the photo booth stuff to somebody else. If you get really, really good at set design, you might be able to make more money and you, and it might delight you more.
Right. Um, that’s kind of how I think about it is making sure that whatever you’re doing, you have a plan for the future, uh, because if you don’t have a plan for the future, then my personal opinion is that you should just do something completely new, give. Throwing the towels, you know, no, no harm in it, no shame in it and reinvent yourself into something completely different.
Um, we were close to that when it came to keep your city smiling. If that had continued to go really well. I don’t know how much time we would’ve really focused on virtual photo booth, but it was going well enough for us to think, okay, this is cool, but is this really what we’re gonna do for the rest of our quote unquote lives?
And, uh, it wasn’t, we, [01:18:00] we didn’t want that to be the case. And so we never gave up on snap bar and we continued to think about when we would have a solution for people. And it ended up being a couple months versus a year. And you know, I’m glad we didn’t give up that, that, that it would’ve been really easy to, I
Ismail: I’d love to kind of segue the conversation if you’re open to it
From Rags to Realization: Explain
Ismail: into, uh, this article that you had written called, uh, from rags to realization mm-hmm
Um, and the reason I wanna touch on this is three, three things. Someone listening to this, right? You hear Sam, he had a huge success, started this company, millions in revenue. Oh my God. Things went wrong, rebuilt it up. Did other things found success again? And it’s tempting to view a person like that as someone that hits home run after home run and they, they can’t relate.
They can’t relate to it. Uh, too. I. This article, because I personally write it when I was in a, in a bit of a funk as well. Uh, and I found it helpful. And I think the third [01:19:00] thing is that a lot of people right now are just going through their own challenges. Right. There’s it’s just a crazy time.
Coincidentally, you wrote this. Um, I think like in mid-January like a month or two before the pandemic hit mm-hmm but just I’ll just quickly summarize. Yeah. What it was about. Um, you basically were talking about a previous point in your life where you, you lost your job, you defaulted it and you lost your home.
You didn’t have a degree. So it’s hard to find work. I think you mentioned you, you had a job at Buffalo wild wings. Yeah. Why did you write this article?
Sam: um, well, I do think that it’s encouraging to hear from other people that it’s not all ways great. And I think it’s hard to talk about all the ways that we’ve failed, all the things that have happened to us, that we wish didn’t happen.
Nothing about that story [01:20:00] makes me sound incredible. Right? Like you foreclosed on a home. That’s not a great thing. I mean, it happens to a lot of people, but it’s not like I’m proud of it. Right. Uh, you had to get a job of Buffalo, wild wings. I mean, literally if I took that job, granted, I quit after day one, but, um, that’s pretty desperate, right?
To work at Buffalo wild wings. Um, no, and not that there’s anything wrong with it, but like that’s how hard it felt for me, a, an entrepreneurial old type guy to get a job. So I, I like, I try to be honest, I’m, I’m a relatively private person. And when you meet me and talk to me, it might sometimes feel like I get it all right.
Because I think like we already discussed, I can project this confidence. That’s not completely real in one sense. Cause you know, it’s just the fact that maybe I could hide it better than some people or, but internally I’m struggling with something. So writing helps [01:21:00] me communicate things that go on in my head, um, that I won’t usually share publicly, if that makes sense.
And the reason I wrote it is because I think that it is important to share those things. And, um, I don’t know. I mean, honestly beyond that, I just like giving people a little bit of insight into the mindset that I have around life and work and these things like perseverance and grit. So yeah, I didn’t really have any specific intention to be honest.
I don’t really have like a huge audience or anything on LinkedIn.
Ismail: I may have told you this, uh, a while ago, but I think you should do this more often. I found it helpful personally and I think other people would as well and I’ll post the link to it in the show notes. To me, it was, it was kind of hopeful cause like, Hey, he went through tough times.
Yeah. And look at what he was able to accomplish. Even though I may be going through some challenges right now. Yeah. If you. One thing you advised here is, uh, you started to focus on creating more opportunities. Yes. Right? So you change your internal dialogue. And I think if you can [01:22:00] do that, even in the midst of difficult times, you can usually work your way out of it.
Yeah. And on that note, I’d love to ask you,
Turn Challenge into opportunity.
Ismail: uh, I’ll prompt you for a story. Right? So on this idea of finding opportunity that I said, I’d come back to from the very beginning mm-hmm um, you, supposedly you worked or you were working at REI, which I think is a store. Yep. Um, that sells like outdoor goods and stuff like that.
Uh, and some customer just walked in to buy a t-shirt. Yep. Tell that story. And what opportunity came of that? How you turned that into an opportunity.
Sam: Yeah. So at the time, um, I, I landed a job at, so instead of Buffalo, wild wings, I got a job at REI. Um, I heard back like basically around the same time had said yes to the Buffalo wild wings thing then got the job at REI.
So showed up today. One at Buffalo, wild wings. No, maybe I never showed up anyways. I was technically employed for one day. Um, quit was thankful for the RAI position. It’s a better company, [01:23:00] better job for me. Um, again, nothing wrong with Buffalo wild wings. It’s just that RAI has like, got a pretty great reputation as a retail company.
And wasn’t making very much money, probably 12 bucks an hour. And I. Couldn’t find anything else was difficult to move up the ranks at REI. Because again, this was a time post 2008, when a lot of really talented, smart people were without work because of all types of layoffs that had happened in the previous couple years.
And so it was pretty desperate to get out, met a young guy who was shopping for black t-shirt in the menswear department. And, um, you know, it’s a pretty relaxed atmosphere. So just, we were chatting, grabbed him a t-shirt or started looking for the type of black t-shirt that he was interested in, found some stuff with logos on it.
And he said, I, I, I, I don’t want a logo. I need to put my own logo on it. And so of course, just being a helpful salesperson, I said, whoa, what logo are you gonna put on it? And [01:24:00] that launched into a little conversation around his company, which is called rhino camera gear. And that he had recently funded a Kickstarter project where he had the goal of raising $5,000 and raised $80,000 for this cool, a counterweighted GI system for smaller DSLR cameras.
And I was fascinated by that. Here’s a young guy around my age. Uh, you know, entrepreneurial Kickstarter was something I’d heard about, but never met anyone who had launched a project on it, let alone something that was funded, like, you know, 10, 10, 20 times more than they needed, um, from that perspective.
And. Yeah, it was fascinated. So asked if I could get his contact info. I did. And after that shift, I think maybe a week later I emailed him or wrote him saying, Hey, could I come and, you know, volunteer in your garage, help you assemble this big, these big orders. Basically he’d had $80,000 worth of orders of this product.[01:25:00] So can I help you come assemble this stuff in your garage and just ask you a ton of questions about Kickstarter? Cause I thought, you know, maybe this is something that I could do. And at the time Joe was living close to me. And so we went together and we both were in his garage assembling, uh, you know, stuff at a work bench.
And we’re asking kind, just peppering him with questions about Kickstarter, how he got into it, where he filmed his video and on and on. And I just loved the entire experience. And a couple weeks after that, I wrote him saying, Hey, could I work for you for free? You know, I, my REI, but it’s not like full, full time.
I think my hours were, would float. It was retail. So you’d kind of like, it was based on the amount of shifts you could get. So I have at least five hours a week. Um, I’ll run your social media for you. Don’t have to pay me anything. If it grows and works out. Great. If not , it is what it is. Don’t even know if it’s legal for him to technically accept.
I’m sure it is it’s [01:26:00] cuz I offered. Right. So it wasn’t like he was trying to weasel me into working for him without paying me. Uh, I literally wanted to work for him and didn’t care if I was getting paid. Cause I felt that I could prove myself and that’s what I did. He gave me and trusted me with access.
Probably we signed some agreement. Maybe we didn’t, I can’t remember, um, around, uh, his social media accounts. I think at the time it was just Facebook and Instagram. And I started trying to create content, write posts, create polls or you know, ask questions, et cetera. Um, even source like images from the rhino camera gear community of people that like eventually had been getting these products in the mail and that five hours went to 10 hours, 10 hours went to 15.
Then I got like a full time. Then he started paying me and then, um, uh, it went from part-time to full-time and I became the marketing director. Um, didn’t really know what I was doing. Right. Didn’t have a college degree. Just kind of figured all of this out was really, really early in the days of rhino camera gear.
And that is how I finally quit. [01:27:00] REI went full-time startup, um, and learned really so much from him. And from that experience going from in one sense, ground zero, or just after ground zero to about 1.5 million revenue and rhino would go on to get bigger and bigger. After I left and that’s where I left from to snap bar.
So, um, in 2015, you know, that was my last, uh, year at rhino. And then that summer we went full time with snap bar.
Ismail: I love that story. That’s like the perfect, uh, entrepreneur find opportu, create opportunity story. And just hearing that from you right now, I just wonder, you know, you had
Destiny OR opportunity?
Ismail: a friend that wanted a photo booth and he asked you to build it.
You had this guy walk into your store, speak to you, right. Is it more that you’re creating the opportunity or is it more of something else? Like it’s destiny fate, uh, that you’re open to it? Like what is really going on here? Yeah, I think
Sam: it’s, it’s like one and the same. Right? Um, [01:28:00] there are things that are not opportunities that can turn into opportunities.
So asking someone what being curious about their logo, isn’t creating an opportunity, but that led to him telling me the story of his company. And that led to me asking for his contact info because at the time I didn’t every even think about working for him. I literally wanted to learn more about Kickstarter selfishly.
So I could try to launch my own project. I didn’t know what I would launch, but I figured it wouldn’t be bad to ask a guy who’d had a successful campaign for tips and tricks. And so, um, you know, it was, it was, it’s more just, it was more of like curiosity now over time, it ended up being, wow, look at that incredible opportunity, but it was one step at a time.
And. Yeah. So I definitely think that it’s a mixture of, there’s probably things that experienced that, sorry, that happened to you, that you’ve experienced in the past two weeks, that if you had gone a little deeper or spent a [01:29:00] little bit more time, and by the way, I think this is true for myself and anyone else could have turned into an opportunity, a little conversation with someone here, a little insight over there, you know, in and of themselves, they are just a little conversation or a little insight.
And that’s what the photo booth story and the rhino story both were. But I kept digging a little bit more, again, out of just selfish curiosity. It wasn’t because I was planning to somehow leverage a relationship or, or turn it into a big business. And it ended up working out really well. So I don’t know if that makes sense to you, but I think that they, that these opportunities, right, the fate of it and the, and us seizing them are oftentimes one and the very same.
And that it’s just a matter of continuing to dig and continuing to explore and being an intellectually curious person in the first place and just caring about what other people are doing and thinking and [01:30:00] how they’re thinking it and why they’re thinking it. I think all kinds of incredible stuff will come from that.
Ismail: I totally agree. And I, I love that you said in the past two weeks, you know, everyone, if you just dig into something a little bit more or had a deeper conversation, something could have come from it. And I think that’s such a great way to like live your life, but it’s hard to in the moment, cuz yeah, you got your own stresses, you got your own businesses.
You got, you kind of become very self-centered. But I, I, I, I really like that story. And I think hearing that and, and combining it with the article rags to realization, I’m just curious
Taking risk & Starting Snapbar
Ismail: why didn’t that period scar you like you, you lost your job, you lost your house, you lost everything. And when you finally got to stability, you got to this job at rhino, you got to be the CEO O right.
Mm-hmm , everything’s great. Now that’s when a lot of people would say, this is working, let me keep going. Right. Why did you not give up on entrepreneurship? Why’d you risk it and start snap bar and go full time.
Sam: [01:31:00] Yeah. It’s difficult to explain. Part of it is curiosity. Like I just said, right. It was instead of saying, yeah, I got a great job.
Don’t know anything about photo booths. So why even consider it that I continued to wonder what photo booths could become for us. And so part of it’s just curiosity. A second part of it is, I don’t know, I’m a dreamer, I guess I love the idea that. I can create more that I can do more, that there’s more to discover and more to learn.
And there’s more out there. I love the fact that the grass always seems to be greener on the other side. because I love green grass. And so I’ll constantly chase it. Um, people sometimes . Does that make
Ismail: sense? Yeah, no. You know, Sam, what I’m curious about is
Your definition of happiness
Ismail: I, I have like friends of mine that are so content.
I’ve got a friend that says, I just need [01:32:00] my cup of coffee and my cigarette, and I’m happy. And I always, I have a very hard time relating to that because I’m, I’m more like you, right. There’s more to do. There’s more to learn. There’s more, but I wonder you personally, do you think that that makes it harder for you to be happy because like, is, are you ever content in life?
Uh, like my friend that just needs this cup of coffee and he is happy, or do you feel like you’re always gonna wanna do more and it’s gonna be harder to be truly happy?
Sam: No, I feel really content. Let me put it this way. My cup of coffee is what I do. So I’m very content when I’m creating new things, dreaming of future possibilities, figuring out how I could go live abroad for three months, wondering how I might be able to save up for that cool looking vacation, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
Right. So that’s my cup of. It’s it, it actually is an incredibly peaceful process [01:33:00] for me. It, it, it, in one sense, sure. It has some more stress, but that’s really subjective. It doesn’t stress me out more than a bad day at work. Might stress someone else out. Who’s not running a business bad days at work.
Don’t stress me out really like huge business pressures do, but I can get over, you know, other things really easily. So my cup of coffee maybe is just a different type of coffee. It’s just, it’s the adventure. It’s the unknown. It’s the excitement and the dreaming. And in that world, I feel very, very content.
In fact, I think I’d get really bored and discontent. Right. Is discontent a word? Uncontent I think it’s discontent. um, if I was just doing the same thing, but that’s just me, right? I mean, that’s, that’s not everyone and it shouldn’t be, uh, the world would not work very well if everyone was an entrepreneur,
Ismail: not, I totally agree.
And I just, personally, I, I, I was [01:34:00] curious to hear that because I even had friends that like flat out ask me like more than one of them. Why can’t you just be happy? Why are you like trying to do more? I don’t know if people relate to that. Um, I don’t think people are trying to hold you back. No, but they’re just wondering why can’t you like stop?
Yeah, but I enjoy. Like you, I enjoy doing things and learning things and going after things. That’s what I that’s makes me happy. Yeah. So, and I think
Sam: that that’s the entrepreneur, right? That’s the essence of what it means to be a builder and a creator. And that doesn’t mean that we’re doing anything better or more right.
Or more wrong than someone else. Who’s happy to sip coffee, go do their job and go back home. And some of my best friends have incredibly kinda stable. Maybe some might say boring jobs. In fact, sometimes they say boring jobs, but they don’t mind. They, they have great lives. They’re very happy. And we get along absolutely wonderfully because we just like different types of coffee.
Ismail: Yeah. I think it’s just knowing yourself and [01:35:00] everyone’s wired differently. Yeah. Um,
Going into business with my brother.
Ismail: speaking of, I’m also personally, just very curious about this. You mentioned working with your brother mm-hmm at this company and you started snap bar with him. And I think you got at least at one point you had desks next to each other.
You’re working together. Yes. All the time. I personally know people in my life, in my community that that has become disastrous. Yeah. Like families are ruined. Yep. Um, they, they never would work with family and friends ever again. Right. I’m not in that camp. Personally. I work with my brother. I’ve worked with other friends and family.
I’m curious to hear from you, how is it working with a brother with a family member and how do you keep it from becoming a disas situation? How do you think about that?
Sam: Yeah. Well, My brother and I have been really good friends for a long time. That helps. We’re also a very different personality wise, which also helps we are not Kline at the same positions, titles, or responsibilities [01:36:00] in our work.
And so we kind of have our, we have our lanes and we try to stay in them as much as possible. And so those are some practical steps of like, okay. Our situation, I think is maybe a little bit different than some other situations. If my brother was really similar to me, I don’t think that we’d be able to work together.
So if you are a family trying to do business together, and I think despite how, you know, no matter how great your friendship or relationship is outside of work, you and your brother or you and your sister or you and your dad, or you and your mom, or whatever happen to be too similar or not confident enough in the expertise of one another to let each other stay in their own lanes, there’s gonna be an insane amount of drama and friction.
Uh, there still is drama and [01:37:00] friction for my brother and I, but thankfully that’s the wonderful thing about family as you’ve probably ended up having lots of fights and getting over them. And that’s kind of what we do to this day, my brother and I argue all the time. We’ve just had 10,000 hours of experience getting, getting on each other’s nerves and then getting off of each other’s nerves.
Right. So it’s, um, I, I think about it kind of in, in two ways, like one the practical, what is your responsibility? What are you good at? Where are you gonna stay? What’s your gonna be your lane? How is, how does it work to work together? And then some of the, like the more, uh, Le you know, the less practical, more of like the, the relational side of it.
And that, I don’t know if I have answers to cuz every family’s different, but it just takes a lot of
Ismail: work. Yeah. I, I love that you delved into it a little bit more, um, rather than just saying, oh, you can’t work with family cuz I think I’m with you where it depends on the personalities of the people involved.
Yeah. Like you said, it depends on what each person’s good at. It’s [01:38:00] not just a black and white rule. Right? There’s a little bit of a nuance to it. Yeah. For me personally, when I do get involved with friends and family, I like to have like very uncomfortable conversations upfront. Yeah. Where I lay it all on table.
Here’s where I see things can go wrong. Right. Here’s potential pitfalls. Let’s talk it all through. Um, and hopefully that would avoid any issues in the future, but yeah. You know, your mileage may vary. Um right.
Sam: You know, and well, and, and just to touch on that one more time, like there are just as many, if not far more stories of non-family business partners having incredibly rough breakups, right.
Oh for sure. Yep. And, and then, and no one thinks twice of it. That’s just. So the only reason that it’s more complicated with family is that you intend or desire to have a relationship outside of work. And the breakups, the difficult breakups are bound to happen. There’s just no way that it’s not gonna happen to some people.
And that’s the hard part, you know, because they’re bound to [01:39:00] happen because you’re bound to fight if that creeps into your personal relationship. Yeah. I mean, what else do you expect? It’s gonna ruin things. Um, there’s a chance that it continues to create friction for my brother and I, if things ever became incredibly tense or we weren’t doing our part in figuring out how we should continue to work together and stay in our own lanes.
But that’s why we work on that piece of it so much.
Ismail: Has it affected your relationship? Like, do you get sick of each other? Not wanna hang out after work or is that not really a
Sam: problem? No, it’s grown us closer. We would prefer to spend, to eat time with each other now than probably ever before.
Ismail: That’s exactly what I, what I’ve encountered is that I think it brings you closer because there’s a lot to talk about.
There’s a lot. Yeah. Like you’re just more involved with each other. So I find that it has the potential to bring your closer.
Sam: It’s like, do you know the, the brotherhood that can be formed, um, in war, right? Or in the military, you hear of pretty incredible stories of the [01:40:00] bonds. Um, members of the military can form with each other, even when they’re not in an active wartime situation, but especially in a wartime situation, these relationships are sometimes lifelong.
And I think that that’s kind of why our relationship has grown closer. It, when you’re in the trenches together to use that analogy, uh, you learn a lot about each other, a lot more about each other than you might learn with your average brother, your average friend, in that sense. And so I think that’s the reason it’s not so much that it’s like, oh, so cool.
Because we get to talk about business outside of work. It’s different it’s that we know each other on a deeper level and have this kind of shared crazy experience together. That is very much bonding in the way that I would assume, um, the brotherhood or that bond in, in like a, you know, a military situation would be now I’ve never been in it.
So I don’t actually know what I’m talking about, but you know, from what I hear in the movies you watch, that’s the [01:41:00] impression
Ismail: also on the topic of family, you, you had another article that I really, really liked about growth and culture. Mm-hmm . And I, this one really made me reflect a lot because there’s so much emphasis in business about building the right culture at the office and, uh, all the things that people do to build culture at their company.
And no one really talks about building culture at home, right. Especially with, with children. Yeah. So I’d love for you to kinda. Expand on this just a little bit and like answer the question, which I’m sure you hear all the time. How do you
Balancing Family & work time
Ismail: make time for work when you’re raising three children?
Sam: Yeah. or vice versa, right?
how do you make time for children when you’re trying to build a business? Right.
Ismail: I read your articles. I, I phrased my question that way on purpose deliberately. OK, good, good, good.
Sam: that’s right. So, well, uh, let’s just put it this way. Just like working with a family member, [01:42:00] it can be really difficult and it doesn’t mean that it’s always gonna turn out.
Well, I think again, it breaks into two main categories. At least this is the way that I think about it. There’s the practical stuff. Like, are you going to have hard deadlines for when you don’t work? Are you not going to work on weekends? You know, all that stuff. Like how to create helpful, healthy expectation amongst your family and kids for when you’re gonna be present and when you’re not.
I, so again, so that’s the practical side. I can speak to that in a, you know, in a, in a second, if you want me to, and then of course there’s the personal relational side. You might be incredibly busy. You might be working insane amounts of hours, but the way that you speak to play with and communicate with your family can be.
Really, really great. Even if you are incredibly busy versus you might have a lot of time on your hands and you could [01:43:00] still kind of screw up the communication or be mentally distant, et cetera. So for me, it’s twofold. The practical side is that I do work a lot and I am very occupied with my business F much less than I used to be.
Thankfully, because the reality for when I used to work, a lot of the events in the early days of snap bar is that I’d be working all week and I’d work on weekends. And that was also my life when I was working at rhino worked during the week, worked during the weekends and then in the evenings, it was even more stuff, right.
Planning for the weekends and answering emails, et cetera, from the side hustle. So there’s a lot
Ismail: of business. How did that, how did that impact your wife? I’m asking selfishly because I have a two yearold daughter. I have another one on the way in a couple months. So I’m kind of worried about this hug and pull of like working and being there for your family, because I want to be there, obviously.
I, I think everyone does. How did that affect your wife? Is it just, Hey, we gotta get through this [01:44:00] rough page until I build the team up. Yeah.
Sam: Well, my wife is incredibly independent and so we had really honest conversations about what it was going to mean for me to work on the side project and try to build a business.
And I’ve had honest conversations with my kids about the same thing. So I’m pretty transparent with them. How I interact with business. I’m very much kind of obsessive and I go deep and it, I can easily check out mentally and get really focused on something. Um, so I have to be really honest with them and really transparent with them, but it really does help that my wife is incredibly independent and doesn’t need me to be around, to be content and be happy.
She’s great with our kids. And there have been times where I’ve been gone for a week or two for work. And, um, you know, my wife and I only be talk once on the phone and text the rest of the time. And we are pretty good at just living, um, [01:45:00] you know, kind of in one sense, our own lives while we have to be separate and then boom, right back into the mix of things when we’re together.
And again, that’s just, I don’t know. I don’t know how to, that’s more of a personality thing,
Ismail: I guess. right. I think having the right spouse for you is such a critical life happiness thing that you can, like, there’s not many things more important than that, at least from my experience. Right. Well,
Sam: and I think, I mean to, to be maybe a little bit more specific than I was, I think a lot of it comes to comes down to trust.
So it’s not just that like she’s independent. That I’m independent and that we can be away and things are fine, and we barely have to talk to each other and still be close. And then we can kind of come back together after a longer trip or something. And it’s like, we weren’t even apart. That’s the way it feels.
But the reason it feels that way is because we trust each other. My wife trusts that what I’m doing for work I’ve thought through that it needs to be [01:46:00] done. That I am not a workaholic and deliberately filling my schedule with meaningless stuff, just because it’s tiring to raise children. And I trust her, um, to do a fantastic job, raising our kids and taking care of them.
And I’m not worried about anything while I’m away, because I know she’s making the right call. So the foundation is, is of course, yes, our relationship and friendship, but we really trust each other. And so she knows when I’m busy with work, that I’m busy because I need to be busy with it. And I know that when she’s busy, uh, with the kids and with school, cause we happen to homeschool our kids, um, that that’s deliberate.
She needs to be doing that. I trust her to be making the right decisions and it’s way easier to work and live and do life together because we trust each other than if we are constantly questioning each other’s motives or decisions. I,
Ismail: I, I think I’ve seen videos online, um,
Sam’s son is into business.
Ismail: of your son, I believe it’s your oldest son.
Mm-hmm pitching products. Is that right? Yes, indeed. [01:47:00] Is that something that naturally came up or did you like instill that entrepreneurship in him? How did that.
Sam: Yeah, very much. Um, both. So he’d ask questions, he’d ask about my work. He’d ask about earning money and I would answer questions about my work and encourage him to think about making money in a creative kind of business context versus maybe just doing chores around a house, um, or going to chop firewood or, you know, something like that.
So, uh, both he is, I would say somewhat entrepreneurial. He’s very, very hard working that’s for sure. And he might actually in certain regards prefer to just go work and do kind of like manual labor with his hands for six hours in a day, at nine years old with my, um, or sorry with his grandpa, uh, then he might with a business idea [01:48:00] only because he has more control over that he can put on his clothes, put on his boots, go, you know, get dropped off or walk himself over to his grandpa’s house.
Cause we happen to live relatively close to each other and, um, you know, and do that versus it takes a little bit longer and it’s a little bit more complex to order stuff on Alibaba to package it, to sell it. But he is done both and loves both. And you know, we, um, we talk about finances. He has ache. He has a savings account.
Um, you know, he, we, we talk about kind of. Money and why it’s important and how to use it. Well, uh, on a pretty regular basis,
Ismail: I, I selfishly hope that my kids would have that naturally in them. Um, I look forward to that stuff in the future, cuz uh, when they’re younger, like two and below, it’s amazing, but you can’t really talk about things like that.
Right. So right. I look forward to the days where we can, we can dive into that stuff. Yeah. Um, it’s a lot of [01:49:00] fun. I also heard that you went
Entrepreneurship Passion during Europe tour.
Ismail: on this really long trip to Europe or I think in early 2019, but before you went, you had mentioned that you have a deep passion for entrepreneurship and business. Uh, and during that trip, even though it’s for fun, you’re gonna be spending a lot of time reflecting on that passion for entrepreneurship and business.
What did you reflect on? What came of that? What’d you think of?
Sam: Yeah, so that was in, I think the, the fall of 2019, actually I took a five week break in traveled to, uh, the UK, uh, Italy and Morocco, uh, for those five weeks I Al I always think about work and life and those types of things. When I’m on any kind of break, I think it’s somewhat inevitable.
I deliberately wanted to be considering. The long term of the snap bar and what I wanted to spend my time doing on this trip in a deeper and more deliberate way than just, oh, I’m sure I’m my mind’s [01:50:00] gonna end up drifting towards work or something like that. And so the, the core of what I was trying to determine was whether I wanted to continue to be really, really busy growing snap bar or whether it was at a place where I could take my foot off the gas, relax, more work, less and coast because growing a business takes a lot of work and it takes a lot of my work and a lot of strategy and a lot of time.
And I’ve worked for a lot of hours for a lot of years. And I just wondered whether it’d be nice to take a break and, and kind of kick things into cruise control for a little bit, even six months, even a year. And then really kind of look at myself and assess what do I want, right. What do I, why am I working so hard to grow the business?
Um, and on the flip side, I was wanting to grow the business. So I was trying to ask myself, well, why do you know that this is [01:51:00] gonna take a lot of time? Do you know that this is gonna be a lot more work? And, um, do you need it? Right? The business was at a spot where I didn’t need any more income, the bus we were paying for it, or we didn’t have debt.
We didn’t have investors. So at a certain point, when you. Are in that position. Do you need to grow more? Um, I mean, I know the answer, the answer is no, I know people and have read many stories of, um, individuals who’ve built businesses, scaled them to million, scaled them to 2 million, scaled them to 5 million, hated 5 million scaled back down to one or 2 million and stayed there for the next 20 years because it was providing for them, it was providing for their team and they enjoyed their lives more at that level.
That was their cup of coffee. If we go back to that idea. Right. And, um, mine is, I think the, well, it’s hard to say because honestly, uh, well it ended up being that mine was growth. Let’s put it that way. Um, COVID has been [01:52:00] so intense that I’m really looking forward to my next long break, um, to just really reassess again.
But that’s another story.
Ismail: Why do you think you’re so passionate about entrepreneurship is just wiring or is there something, something else there?
Sam: I think it’s wiring to a certain extent, but I have loved the ability that entrepreneurship has provided for me to create, you know, a vision and a future for my work and, and kind of by extension even my life because of the finances that it provides and the ability and flexibility and freedom that it gives me to do all kinds of things and consider all kinds of things.
Traveling more with my kids, maybe living in Europe for three months, which we were hoping to do next year. But with COVID, I’m not sure if we’re gonna be able to do that. Um, you know, take extended breaks, like take a five week vacation. Um, and then those are maybe like the more personal kind of selfish things, but it’s [01:53:00] really nice that it provides that.
Right. I love the freedom that entrepreneurship, that small business can create. The other side is that I think when business is just about money and less about entrepreneurship, when it’s more about the profit and well, no, this is I’m rephrasing it in the wrong way. I love big business, but I think big business can be incredibly detrimental to the world because at a certain point you stop worrying about the entrepreneurship, the people, the adventure, the challenge, the journey.
And I think it becomes numbers, numbers, numbers, money, money, money, and, um, I’m all for making money, but not at any cost. And when you look at the cost of what the very various industries in the us, um, have caused, when you look at how and why we got into the [01:54:00] 2008, uh, financial collapse, when you look at, um, how desperate.
The small businesses during this pandemic have been versus the massive businesses you realize, man, we really need good, solid, accountable community, loving, connected businesses to thrive. And I, I’m not, again, I’m not saying like don’t support Starbucks only go to your local coffee shop. I love Starbucks.
Starbucks is great for a lot of reasons, but I also go to support my local coffee shop. Right. It’s more that I think that entrepreneurs and small business owners, um, and again, I don’t even small who knows what that means anymore, right? That they have more of a connection and conscience in my experience, um, to their communities, to the people, around them, to even the employees where the employees are still at a certain point, friends and family and you know them by name and they [01:55:00] are not, as I have heard others explain, um, you know, a number in a payroll system, some friends of mine that work at large, I shall not name companies.
Um, yeah. Have been there. Yeah. Right. Where that’s how you feel. You feel like a number in a system you don’t feel like decisions are being made with you in mind because they’re not, they’re being made with numbers in mind and you happen to be affected by some of those numbers. Now again, I understand that that’s exactly how it would work for us.
If we got bigger. I just think that entrepre. Both, you know, on those, I say selfish, they’re not, they’re more personal preference. The freedom, the flexibility, the travel, it does create this, this, it does allow for some of these things, but it also, I, I think it also can really have a lot of good in our communities and world when people are treated like people and less like numbers.
And if it takes conscious, loving, [01:56:00] caring, passionate entrepreneurs to get us closer to that, that’s what I want to do. So a passion of my brother and I in all of our business dealings has been, uh, always to raise up leaders within our companies to dream big, to do great things and, uh, not to force them or try to have them become entrepreneurs in and of themselves, but to create an environment where they can truly thrive and create in one sense, like their dream job within our company, so that they might be fulfilled and excited, and then help us raise more leaders who have this greater vision for what work could be there.
Ismail: There’s so much in what you just said. Uh, it’s hard to unpack that, but I think you alluded to, um, like the impact it’s had on your life, right? Yeah. And for me, entrepreneurship has got so much potential to impact the community. Um, the families, the people I’ve seen entrepreneurship, literally transform individuals, whether like I [01:57:00] could think of some family members, some friends.
The maturation, the personal development. I just think there’s no vehicle. Yeah. Uh, that can do more good than entrepreneurship. So I, I find myself personally leaning more into this kind of interest I have of, like you said, helping people rise. And I’m kind of like encouraging some of my friends to, Hey, you should start this, you start that.
And they don’t really wanna do anything. yeah. Yeah. I’m being a little annoying, but I just have that passion for it for some reason. Yeah. It has so much potential to have impact on, on the individual, the people around them, the community around them. I
Sam: agree. And I think that, that, that, you know, it’s not just entrepreneurship.
Right. I think the reason that it does that is when people realize or feel like they have a little bit more control over their lives over their future, over some of their decisions than maybe they give themselves credit for. I think entrepreneurship is gives you a better lens than most other things that that’s possible.
Um, but I don’t think that it’s alone. [01:58:00] I think there’s a lot of other things, uh, that can help you see that. But I agree with you. I think it’s one of the best and one of the most efficient vehicles for that discovery.
Ismail: Right. And, and
Launch a new course.
Ismail: I believe that you are launching a new course, um, called how to grow and scale a multimillion dollar event business.
And before I ask you just a, uh, kind of. Talk a little bit about it. Mm-hmm uh, I just have to say that the, the videographer Zach, that was, uh, filming these sessions with you mm-hmm would be texting me throughout them with, uh, with text. Like, and I don’t know if you know this, but he was just saying like, this is a great course.
Sam is absolutely killing it in my opinion, such amazing content. I think the bar’s getting set nice and high with this one and on and on and on. So that’s awesome. Awesome. what is this course about and why did you decide to do this now in the midst of everything else that’s going on?
Sam: Yeah, well, I love, I love good stories and, and, and good teaching, um, [01:59:00] part of raising leaders and building a solid team around you, getting into the journey and adventure that is entrepreneurship and business is that it’s fun to do it together.
And it’s fun to see other people succeed and come up with their own ideas. Uh, I, I, I think I said this earlier, that many of us in the world of business are friends with the people that we are in business against, right. This word against, I’m not a big fan of using it because competition is absolutely needed in the world of business and it’s existed for all of time.
It’s not some new construct. So why are we under the impression that we’re ever going to get anywhere in business without competition, that’s kind of ludicrous. So, um, I like doing life and business together with my team, with my competitors, with people, uh, new people coming into the market, the people that have been in the industry for a long time, it’s fun to compete.
How fun would soccer or basketball or football be [02:00:00] when, if there was no opposing team right. Like that’s what creates the game. It’s what creates the fun. And so for that reason, um, I think a lot about, uh, just teaching and learning. It’s the reason that I like to do podcasts like this one. It’s the reason that I like to share what I can from the PR perspective with articles and, um, divulge maybe more information than some might, because I think it’s fun to tell the story and it’s fun to inspire people if they’re gonna get inspired by this kind of stuff.
So growth of course, on growth and how to scale. Um, cuz we’ve been able to do it with snap bar. We’ve been able to do it with keep your city smiling. We’ve been able to do it with virtual booth. Um, it’s kind of crazy, but um, you know, within the year virtual booth keep you through smiling and snap bar again, will each, uh, well, snap bar’s already been a million dollar company slash product, but um, within the year I’ll have had the experience of launching a $3 million plus [02:01:00] products really?
Uh, cuz they’re very different granted virtual booth, maybe that’s not fair because well, no that would be, it is a product, right? Keeper city smiling is a business and then snap bar of course has been, has done that many times over and. It’s not because I’m a genius it’s because I’ve seen, I’ve made a lot of mistakes and I’ve, I’ve just seen kind of some of what works for me and my team and some of what doesn’t.
And I think that’s exciting, right? I mean, I’ve shared some of those ideas and stories, even in this talk we’ve been having. So, uh, I created it a two, two share, and I created it to inspire and I created it to help. And I created it to be touching on a lot of the working on your business, snuff stuff and the theoretical, the, the, the really the helpful high level stuff that we need to understand that hopefully applies to a lot of businesses.
Now, a lot of it does relate to the photo booth industry specifically, but I think that anyone could take some of the stuff that we talk about and the way that we look at business and training and people and, and, and all that and [02:02:00] benefit from it. And, um, I mean, it’s a course that you pay for. So of course I will stand to benefit as well.
And that’s, again, leans into my desire to be an entrepreneur, to provide for my family, to go on those cool trips or to live in Europe for three months. Right. or to make real estate investments or buy Bitcoin. Um, I don’t do any of that because it’s boring in my accountants are telling me to I do it because I like it.
And it’s interesting, and I love the freedom and flexibility that business provides. So this is another outlet for me to do something I. And to potentially benefit myself and hopefully benefit a lot of other people. You know,
Ismail: Sam, I also, I dunno if you agree with this, but I also find in my experience, you know, whether it’s selling content or whatever, that if I gave someone free content or free advice and encouraged them to do something for whatever reason and their studies on this, um, when they put money on the line, uh, it makes them take it more seriously to actually not only consume the content to take action on the content.
Yeah, to me, it’s like [02:03:00] a, a, like a really weird bizarre fact, but for whatever reason, it ends up being true.
Sam: Yeah. I think it’s the reason that books are still a thing today. Right? I mean, I could write a blog, a free blog and communicate a ton of thoughts in a blog. Um, in fact, a lot of bloggers do. And then what do these bloggers do they write books oftentimes, and I don’t know what it is.
I agree with you. There is something that, well, actually I do know what it is. I mean, we value what we pay money for. If you buy a pair of shoes, worth 20 bucks in a pair of shoes worth $2,000, uh, guarantee you the shoes worth two grand will be kept in a better state of affairs than the $20 pair of shoes.
And I think that that’s sometimes how we use, um, knowledge and learning and education and stuff as well. Um, we value what we. Pay for,
Ismail: if you invest in something, right, there’s a little bit of, I guess, pressure on yourself to, [02:04:00] uh, get, to make it worthwhile, to make it work. So that kind of forces you to do what you have to do.
Mm-hmm , uh, to get the ROI
Sam: on it. Well, and I think that there’s like a mental thing, like you have in the purchase process for anything from photo booths, to books, to courses, and beyond you are convincing yourself that something is worthwhile. So I am looking to buy a car right now, true story. Um, I’ve never spent more than actually, that is not true.
When I was really young, the first car, one of the first cars I ever bought, I bought new off the lot. I’m never gonna do that again. It was a poor decision for me at the time. It was especially poor back then. I might do in you technically ed for a cyber
Truckn of research research, because I dunno anything about cars, anything about how to fix cars. And I’ve never really beyond that quote unquote poor decision [02:05:00] that I made a long time ago. Um, I’ve never spent more than like $6,000 in the car. We’ve just bought pretty old cars and, uh, nothing wrong with that.
I, we I’ve loved being thrifty, but I’m looking to get my wife a Highlander. And I’m looking at years that are newer, like 20, 19 to 2018, because most of the depreciation has kind of fallen off at that point. Right. You’ve gotten through the worst of it. Um, and. Unfortunately, uh, these are not cheap cars. And so I am doing in the process of convincing myself that this is something worthwhile, so much research about cars, like from how much it costs to maintain them to the benefits of how safe something like a Highlander is versus anything else to, you know, to the gas mileage and on and on and on.
And it’s because I, when, when I’m gonna spend money, like I wanna make sure that I’m convinced that this is the right decision. And so that pro that process when someone is convincing themselves, that it’s worthwhile to spend money on a course or worthwhile to buy another book. Um, the, that process, what you [02:06:00] go through in your mind is really healthy.
You’re selling yourself on why you should learn more or why you should get a car that’s maybe safer and, um, gonna last longer and give us less headaches from the fixed, you know, from the maintenance perspective, et cetera. Um, and I think that’s why it’s so helpful to pay for. And I, it’s easy for me to say, but I’ve done this many times myself.
I’ve I have a lot of books and I’ve paid for lots of courses and conferences. Um, for that very
Ismail: reason, no, that’s such a great way of putting it. I never thought of it that way, but it makes a lot of sense. Um, what would
Advice to aspiring entrepreneurs
Ismail: , uh, if anyone listening to this as an entrepreneur and is considering, you know, putting a course together or working, uh, collaborating with me or with w.
uh, is there anything that you’d say to them, whether it’s based on the experience you had of putting it together, working with the platform, working with me, is there anything that you’d say to anyone considering doing something
Sam: similar? Oh, man. I mean, I think it’s fantastic. Um, one, I think you should do it for the right reasons.
Um, have a [02:07:00] desire to share really helpful information, um, and share from the heart. Right. Um, I think people want to understand the way that others think, not just listen to their top tips and tricks. And so, uh, in my course, I definitely try to focus on that of pretending or feeling or embodying this idea that I was sitting across from the person that I was trying to chat with and being very open and Frank, and kind of intentional with them.
Um, even though it’s obviously a course format that will be reaching a ton of people. So that’s one, um, in terms of the experience overall. Excellent. I think you did a fantastic job. The, the platform looks incredible. I’m really excited to see. I’ve never been involved in a course, uh, in selling a course before, um, which is super exciting.
So, um, it was, it was a lot of work. There was, it’s a lot of content and a lot of, kind of like not personal content, but like deep content in the way [02:08:00] that, um, I think the way that my team thinks about building, um, you know, businesses, million dollar products in that, in that perspective, um, And there’s really nothing that I didn’t share other than like all the specifics of everything that we do for these particular products.
It’s more that I want people to be able to, you know, and I think this is also helpful for anyone else who’s considering doing the course, like share the blueprints, don’t share the designs. You know, the, the blueprints will allow you to construct a solid house and then you can design it however way you want to.
And what, what, you know, according to your preferences, uh, a lot of people like and wanna be given designs. Um, I don’t think they need designs. I think we all need more blueprints
Ismail: for anyone
Way to connect with Sam
Ismail: that’s enjoyed. Uh, I guess listening to Sam and understanding a little bit about how he thinks you can check out the course it’s, there’s only in show notes and you can also go to wizard.com, w I S D R a.com and find the course from there, by the way, there’s also, uh, limited slots for [02:09:00] people that would like to get, um, direct personal mentorship from Sam, uh, as part of purchasing the course as well.
So, uh, for people who want that, they would probably want to act quickly wrapping up that course. I guess I’m curious Sam two things. What
Common mistakes people make building businesses.
Ismail: are like, what are the most common things that you find people get wrong in, in building a business and like what makes a difference between you snap bar and like people who don’t make it?
Like, what, what is that differentiator? What are people missing?
I always have to be careful when I try to answer questions like this, because it’s so hard. And I know so many people that work so hard and for whatever reason, just the circumstances they’re facing are maybe even more challenging than the circumstances I’ve faced. Um, so I’ll tell you. Okay, so, so, so this is the easy, the easiest answer, but one that I actually really, really believe is true.
I think people give up way too soon [02:10:00] and it’s not a bad thing to give up. In fact, knowing when to like throw in the towel and, and declare defeat is actually like an art in and of itself, because I think you can save yourself a lot of pain and stress and anguish by doing it at the right time and two and sooner than later, um, I’ve considered it many times.
In fact, I’ve had five businesses that no one’s ever heard of. So I’ve thrown in the towel before a lot. I’ve a lot before snap bar. Um, but, but people still give up too soon. If you’re going to get into business, it is not going to be easy. That’s not what anyone’s signing up for. And freedom does not come without a price in that sense.
Uh, I know that people use that in the context of the freedom of a country, but it also does relates and applies to the world of business. You’re not going to. Be able to sit on a beach, sipping a margarita without a ton of work. And even then you still might be on your phone [02:11:00] working, right? Like that’s the side of it that no one ever talks about.
Um, I think people build up these constructs of what it’s gonna be like when they get into it. Very similar to how the emo E book, excuse me, is, is kind of set up, which is that people are doing these jobs. They love baking pies and they think, well, I could do this myself. I love baking pies. The, you know, my owners ALUS, I could probably do this, this, and this better than them.
And again, I love baking pies. I’m really good at it. It’s what they pay me for. So you set up your own business baking pies, and then when the reality of what starting a business means actually sets upon them. Uh, you know, they go into a downward spiral. So, um, that’s what I’ll say is that, uh, you know, we don’t give up and I’m not planning to anytime soon.
And that has helped us. It’s helped us stick with things for just long enough, enough times for them to finally work. And, uh, I know it seems like a lot of things work for us, but we didn’t really talk about the [02:12:00] hundreds of thousands of dollars. Um, we’ve lost or misspent in the past, trying to work on projects that never took off.
Um, so , again, that is, uh, that’s, you know, part of maybe even the reason to like join the course, learn more about it and join the community. That’s gonna be able to like ask me questions and just kind of dive in deeper about many of the mistakes we.
Ismail: As I try to zoom out and wrap this conversation up. I don’t think, I
Common mistakes people make building businesses.
Ismail: dunno if I told you the same, the story of the name bound to be rich.
How I landed on that name? I didn’t tell you. Right. Mm-hmm are you familiar with, uh, John Rockefeller? Have you done any reading or studying of him? Yes, I have. Have you read that book, Titan? That massive book I
Sam: have not read Titan yet? No.
Ismail: Okay. So, uh, just very quickly, I, I basically read that it was a massive, very thick read.
Like it was, it was, it took a while to get through mm-hmm and that entire book, there was like one snippet that stood out to me, uh, years later. Right. Mm-hmm [02:13:00] and for those who don’t know, Rockefeller ended up becoming one of the wealthiest men in the world in history. And at that time, uh, in the book that this passage I’m gonna refer to, he was a very young man.
He’s a very stoic person, simple guy, very, he was a devout Baptist. So like he didn’t have temptation of alcohol. He resisted temptation. Let me use that correctly smoking and most importantly, greed. Right? So. A non greedy devout Baptist ends up becoming the wealthiest person in the world. and there’s this one passage in there where he’s speaking to like an older businessman.
And at this time, Rockefeller is a young man. He struggled to find his first job yet. He was speaking to him and he there’s this one phrase that he said to him, I am bound to be rich bound, to be rich bound, to be rich three times. And while he was kind of screaming this, he was like tapping that old guy’s knee.
Uh, and John was not, uh, Mr. Rockefeller was not [02:14:00] someone who was, was very demonstrative about too many things. Right. And he was always afraid of, um, like accumulating money is one thing, but like outwardly coveting, it is something totally different. He was really careful, uh, to not fall victim to that. Yeah.
But he felt like he was destined for more. Right. Yeah. To me, that really stuck with me. And that’s kind of like my hope with the podcast is to attract people that feel similarly. Right. Mm-hmm and on that note, I’m gonna read something. I came across, um, as we wrap this up to, I guess, summarize Sam as a young boy.
So if you, if you’ll indulge me, Sam, let me read this out to you. And I’d be curious to hear . Um, so this is an old friend of Sam’s posted this and said, I’ve known Sam since he was a little boy. We both grew up in Morocco. I remember him playing soccer with other neighborhood kids after school. He was the little boy who made sure to include every kid in whatever he was playing.
Be it soccer, hide and seek so forth. Whenever I stopped by to visit his family, [02:15:00] he was always the first one to run to the door, to welcome me or other guests with enthusiasm and a genuine smile. I am not surprised that he is now the CEO of snap bar with his amazing social and leadership skills. I knew Sam was gonna go far in his life.
um, so I’m
Making impression as a young boy
Ismail: curious, this is something that like, I, I really wanna dive into with this podcast. Do you think most people had this impression of you? Uh, as a young boy? Oh man.
Sam: In certain ways, yes. Maybe the enthusiastic running to the door. First person greet . I don’t remember myself doing that as much. Um, but I’ve heard from a lot of people over the years that they always thought I would be a leader or a lawyer because I was good at arguing and I was very stubborn and I wouldn’t give up or a politician [02:16:00] because I could speak and kind of rally people around me or, you know, so on, so forth.
And so yeah, in a certain way, there are elements of. Childhood and personality that I think started pretty young that have continued to shape, uh, who I am today and maybe gave people an idea that I was gonna do something interesting. I don’t know if entrepreneurship was ever something that, uh, they would have assumed, but yeah, it doesn’t, it doesn’t necessarily surprise me.
Ismail: just, I’m just personally fascinated by this and I think it’s because I resonate with it so much. I, I experience, it’s hard to talk about this without coming off, like egotistical, but I also like relate to that and I feel like growing up people had, uh, expectations that I was gonna do something as well.
Yeah. And I think anyone listening to a two hour conversation podcast interview or purchasing a course about how to scale a business really would Rob Holly relate to that. [02:17:00] And yeah, maybe it feels a little different and weird. Yeah. They’re interested in different things. We’re not really into the latest video games we’re into right.
Building, uh, and having impact. Yep. Agree. Do you feel like you, like, did you feel different? We talked about what people thought of you, but did you feel different or like bound to succeed? Was there any clues back then that would paint a picture of a successful CEO in the future?
Sam: I’m not sure, but I’ve always had the desire to change the world.
Um, I don’t share that a ton with people, but. Yeah, I believe that I can, and not in my own strength and not alone. I don’t believe in this concept of like a self-made man or a self-made millionaire or a self-made business or anything like that. There’s so much credit that goes to other people in my life and my team and my brother, my co-founders right.
I, the people I’ve worked for that have shaped me and taught me. So, um, it’s weird to say that I believed [02:18:00] that I could change the world even as a pretty young kid and also in the same breath say, and by the way, none of it was me by myself. So, uh, but that’s, that’s the reality. And I think that that’s actually, um, a really, I’m really glad I felt that now I don’t know what it meant.
And what was I thinking when I left college with no degree, I genuinely didn’t have a plan. I just didn’t wanna go into debt. It was not some super well thought strategic plan. So I think there, I’m sure there have been fluctuations. How great did I feel about changing the world when I was, you know, broke and going into foreclosure and you know, didn’t have a job while I was married and had a kid, um, not great.
like, I didn’t really feel like I was changing much for good, uh, during that part of my life. But
Ismail: so that, that must have really conflicted with your identity though. Cuz if there’s all this expectation and you feel destined for something and then you. Really doing well at that point in time, that must have really been depressing.
Yeah. I mean [02:19:00]
Sam: a little bit, but the thing is that thankfully there was no expectation on me from other people. Um, I was the one that wanted to change the world. No one was pressuring me to try to change it. Right. And again, change the world I think is, um, some people might say, oh well, you have by the cool stories that you’ve done.
And if, and, and that’s true, I mean, like change the world doesn’t mean that I need to become, you know, someone who’s like globally renowned, I just wanna impact it. Maybe that’s a better way. Right. And as a kid, I just thought changed the world. But now I think I understand that better as impact. And also I think I’m more mature in my understanding of that concept, which is that, um, nobody in the history of the world has ever affected everybody on it, in that sense.
Right. Mm-hmm um, maybe arguably Jesus is the most famous person in all of history. And there are people in the world that have not heard of him. So like I’m not trying to compete with emperors and religious figures and, you know, [02:20:00] CEOs or Titans of industry. Um, I just wanna have a great impact on the world.
And what I realize is my world. Very small. The people that I have influence over right now is enough for me to try to focus on creating impact for and within. And I can, I can get excited about that. That’s a lot, that’s a huge challenge and it’s plenty for me to do. And if that sphere of influence grows fantastic, I’ll have gotten experienced doing it at a smaller scale, and hopefully I’ll be ready for greater, you know, greater impact in the bigger audience.
But if that happens or not, as it’s, it’s both beyond my control and, and it’s definitely beyond my stress. I don’t really spend any time worrying about that. Um, right. It’s kind of like Paul Graham’s essay or I’m just, I just really wanna create and work on a very good version of Sam for the people that are in my life right now.
And if that, um, scales up fantastic.
Ismail: It it’s like that famous, uh, Steve jobs line. You just wanna put a dent in the [02:21:00] universe, right? Yeah. Yep. You don’t have to totally change the universe. Exactly. Put a small dent into it. Yeah. Uh, just one final thing on
Handle Pressure of expectations
Ismail: this note is you mentioned pressure. I’m just curious.
Do you feel like there was a burden or pressure, uh, put on you by yourself to achieve, I guess these expectations you had of yourself?
Sam: Yeah. I’m the only person that I’ve ever felt pressure from, to be honest, my parents are incredible and have never pressured me to do anything. Um, in. The way of business or success or college or anything.
I mean, they definitely asked me a lot of questions when I was an 18 year old thinking I would leave school, but, uh, never any pressure. I’m the only person that puts pressure on myself. Sometimes that’s a negative, but I mostly see it as a positive. So
Ismail: we’ve talked about a lot, um, in this conversation and I think, uh, fitting final question is obviously we talked about relationships, family, children, impact business mm-hmm , uh, and [02:22:00] everything in between.
So clearly, uh, having a rich life is not just about money. Right? Right. So the final question
What is a rich life to you?
Ismail: to you is what is a rich life to you? Hmm.
Sam: That’s a good question. I think a life. So I happen to be a Christian and I, again, that’s a loaded statement these days. because I am aware of many people that call themselves Christians, who I don’t, uh, relate to or associate with in that sense.
So, um, hopefully people can be patient, uh, with their understanding of what it means for someone to be Christian, just like, uh, I grew up in an, in a Muslim country and, um, I. Got to see that, uh, not every, uh, Muslim is a terrorist, which I genuinely encountered people in my life that had that [02:23:00] completely false and rather perverse completely perverse narrative.
Right. Uh, I don’t know if you can relate to that, but that’s again, um, totally. Yeah. So, uh, so I, I, I am a Christian and my values, uh, are influenced by my faith and my relationship with, uh, with Jesus and, um, you know, that doesn’t really come up in the context of work very much. Uh, I don’t know if it needs to, but it’s just what defines me as a person and what, and the biggest piece of that relationship, part of it, where this faith becomes real to me and vibrant and not, uh, you know, old, dusty, traditional, uh, or whatever people might think of it is, um, is via love and care.
Uh, that is what, like, that is what I feel I’ve been, uh, tasked to do is to love [02:24:00] and care for other people. And that is my kids. That is my wife. That is my friends. It’s my teammates. It’s my, uh, you know, the people I run into in business. It’s everybody in my life like to love and care and. That is kind of what drives me and influences a lot of what I do as a person, but also how I look at business.
And it’s one of the reasons that I love entrepreneurship so much is that I think that there’s no greater place for me to try to be a loving and caring person that can hopefully affect other people, um, for the, for good than in business. I want to love and care through snap bar snap bar stated kind of why it’s a reason for being is to give others a reason to smile.
And it stems from this idea that, um, my brother and I have this desire to love and care for other people, and that looks different for every single person we come into. I don’t love my kids the same as I love my [02:25:00] employees the same as I love my wife, the same as I love, you know, a business associate. Um, it means different things for different people, but, um, yeah, that’s why I work hard at what I do it.
I, you know, I want to love and care for the people around me. And so I work hard to provide from a family. I work hard to create a good business for my team members or for people on my team to work in. I work hard to create a great brand that hopefully tells good stories and is inspiring for those that I hope to influence.
Um, so love and care. I,
Ismail: I, I said that was gonna be the last question. Sorry. I just, I just can’t resist because it’s all good. I’m glad you brought, I’m glad you brought this up because, uh, I, I have just two things I wanna touch on here. So I’ll do, I’ll do them in order. So I’ll do one. I really resonate with what you just said, and you don’t have to be in the same religion to resonate with what you just said.
No. Right. That’s the beautiful thing. Yeah. It’s, it’s a really basic core thing. And I also feel similarly where I [02:26:00] want to be there for my family, for my friends. I kind of feel like a duty to support and uplift other people I care about. Right. Right. And I’m just curious to get your take on this because I had one person I really respected and admired mm-hmm and I, I’m kind of the weirdo that goes around to these mentors and asks them for feedback.
Like, Hey, what do you think I’m good at? What do you think I’m bad at? Yeah. And one of the weaknesses that he told me that I had, and he got to know me really well is that I was too loyal to family and friends. And it would serve as kind of an anchor, a, a weight holding you back. Hmm. So you, you’re one of the few people I’ve encountered that.
Uh, I like, I agree with you on what you just said.
Loyalty: Strength OR Weakness.
Ismail: Do you think that makes sense or do you strongly disagree with that?
Sam: Um, I think it might make sense, but who cares? I mean, you could say that loving and caring for people is going to set me back because sometimes in business you have to be [02:27:00] ruthless.
right. I’ve met people that said that if they were in my position, they would have, um, let the entire team go in March, um, gone into some version of hibernation and taken all the money and started a business in and more exciting or more higher growth industry or whatever. Uh, there’s not wrong. I mean, that’s, that’s another possibility.
And so , I, I, I think, yeah, sure. Like maybe, maybe they’re right. Maybe you care too much. Maybe I care too much. Uh, I don’t care. Like, I, I don’t care that that’s what they think, you know, what does he mean by holding you back? Right. If it’s holding you back from ultimate wealth creation, do you care enough about ultimate wealth creation or creating a big business, um, to not spend as much time caring for loving providing for worrying about your friends and family?
Um, you know, that’s why I love the [02:28:00] freedom again, that entrepreneurship, uh, especially like, uh, our bootstrapped life, uh as the snap bar has created for us, because I don’t have to answer to investors that say, Hey, you need to cut this person. I know I’ve made decisions before to keep people around, uh, for too long to give them a shot to just because I don’t want to see them without a job or something like that.
Um, because I love and care for them. And sometimes it still doesn’t work out. But it’s, it’s, it’s my choice. And it’s fine. Sometimes it’s not gonna go according to business sound, business principles, but, um, you know, that’s, that’s, that,
Ismail: that was totally my reaction too. I reflected on the feedback as I do with everything.
And I’m like, you know, man, I forget you, man. This is how I’m gonna do it. And this is how I wanna do it. I’d rather, you don’t wanna be at the peak of the mountain by yourself. Right, right. I’d rather go on a smaller mountain. Yeah. And be surrounded by people I, I love and care about. So,
Sam: and I think advice like that is often shared by people who want to justify maybe some decisions that they made.
And look, if you have, oh, that’s [02:29:00] so true. Just if you, if that’s what it took for you to quote unquote, get to the top or if, um, not loving and caring for the people in their life. And I don’t mean like being mean and selfish. Right. I just know that a lot of the decisions in my life are driven by this desire to love and care for others because I feel loved and cared for.
Um, and, and it’s what I, it’s what I believe is like the right thing to do because of my faith. Now, a lot of people think that that’s the right thing to do, and maybe they don’t have a faith in anything. And that’s great. Like they like, like you said, you can love and care for people and not be a Christian or have it come from some specific, uh, thing, but it does for me.
And so that’s what I’m going to focus on. And.
If someone wants to go about and create three, you know, million dollar products in the opposite way that I did. Goodness. [02:30:00] I’m sure they have. Right. And, and that’s great. Um, it’s just not what I’m gonna do.
Ismail: yeah. I, I think that was so insightful what you said. Um, and so true for a lot of things in life where the things people say that you think they’re speaking to you, but they’re really trying to justify how they live their other life or decisions they’ve made.
I think that’s so spot on. Um, and, and just one final thing I promise, because I can’t let this go. I’ve I’ve noticed this common theme. I mentioned Rockefeller, devout Baptist, a lot of successful entrepreneurs. And I I’ve read a lot. I follow a lot of, uh, these entrepreneur CEO types and it’s kind of something that no one wants to talk about because there’s a lot of like, um, uh, preconceived notions people have.
Common trait in successful people
Ismail: But a lot of them have this faith, whether it’s religious or some other kind of spirituality or meditative, or I don’t even know, but there’s always something mm-hmm . And I wonder if you can expand on why do you think that happens to be a common trait [02:31:00] in successful people?
Sam: Yeah. You know, it’s something I’ve wondered about as well.
And I would, I, I mean, the truth is I, I don’t know, but my, my interpretation, or maybe my opinion is that when you believe that there. Bigger and more important forces in the world than yourself. I’ll put it that way, right? Because not everyone believes in the de D maybe some people, like you said, it’s some version of spirituality or meditative practice or something, but I don’t know.
So maybe they believe in the universe or I don’t know. Right? Like, but when you believe that there’s forces outside yourself that are bigger than yourself, I think your view of the world and of other people is inherently different. I know that if I thought that I was the only person I was accountable to, I would not live [02:32:00] the life that I’ve lived.
I know for a fact I would be a much more selfish, mean self-centered person who only worried about themselves and would work as hard as I possibly, I, I would work as hard as I possibly could to isolate myself from any and all people that brought any version of like negativity into my life or any type of difficulty or stress.
And my goal. I mean, my end goal would be to live as comfortably as I could in the perfect house, on the perfect beach, in the perfect weather environment for as long as I could. Drinking as many margaritas as I could. And just not worry about anyone else, like, sorry for the, uh, right. It’s just, that
Ismail: sounds pretty nice.
Sam: Pretty, I mean, again, I’m not saying there’s much, uh, with that from like, uh, but would wrong if I did it, I couldn’t ever see myself doing that. That to me would be like the ultimate. [02:33:00] Um, it just, that would, that would be me being selfish because of what I believe. And so the fact that I believe that there are greater forces at work than me.
There are people more important than me that others are more important than my comfort means that I’m going to live in a certain way. And, um, so if you look at it that way, and I don’t know if all, you know, you know, Rockefeller and, and others, um, have thought like this, but then you, I think you maybe take on this in this idea that like, okay, well, I’m supposed to serve a lot of people.
Like, and that’s kind of how I think about it. Like how can I love and care for a lot of people like that? That’s basically my mission. And it’s awesome that in business that works too to say, right? Like how can I love and care for a lot more team members or a lot more clients and customers, how can I create a product and just, and, and do right by others at greater scale?
Um, I don’t know if that’s kind [02:34:00] of how. It affects people, but it’s definitely how I think about it in that if I wanna put a dent in the lives of the 50 people that are closest to me. And then I think about how cool it would be to put a dent in the lives of a hundred. Um, sometimes then my mind drifts towards the lives of a thousand.
What about the lives of a million? What about the lives of 2 million? I mean, it’s pretty interesting to see how many people you could impact, um, in, in a good way. And I don’t know. I think I, I, I, I don’t know a ton personally, I’m sure they exist of incredibly successful selfish people. And if they are successful, there’s nothing about their lives that make me wanna be them.
So maybe they just don’t get the press, but I’ve found that, um, you know, and I don’t think that bill gates has any type of faith or spirituality that he CLS to, but, um, he doesn’t do everything for, he [02:35:00] would, I don’t think anyone would consider him selfish necessarily. Right. Like, I mean, I don’t know really anything about him, but it doesn’t seem that way when he is giving away most of his fortune.
Um, and so I don’t know. I think knowing that there are like bigger things at play, um, helps you be a little bit less self-centered and I think by that nature, like makes you more aware of other people out there. And if you can serve care for, uh, love as many people as possible. Um, I think that’s not only a great life, but it’s also a really good business.
Ismail: I think I’ve, I’ve demonstrated throughout this conversation that I could talk to you for hours and hours and hours but I think that is a great place to leave it. And, uh, I just wanna thank you so much for being so generous with your time and also for agreeing to be the first guest on this show.
That’s uh, that’s fine. Appreciate that. My pleasure. Is there anything else that you, you want to end this with or do you think we kind of covered it all,
Sam: man? I mean, I’m happy to do round two where we could dive into more if questions come up, but, uh, this was great. I love long form.
Ismail: Awesome. Thanks again, Sam.[02:36:00]
And, uh, maybe we’ll do it around, so let’s see what people think. Yeah. Thanks this Mel. Thanks. And there you have it. What’d you think of the
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Ismail: conversation? Did you have any takeaways? Let me know, head on over to bound to be rich.com. There’s a link in the show notes and leave a comment so you can engage with other listeners.
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For you. Anything mentioned in the episode will be linked to in these show notes. Thank you so
Ismail: hanging out with us until next.[02:37:00]